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West African states express alarm over dropping tourism numbers

West African states express alarm over dropping tourism numbers


Tourism activity has fallen 6% since 2015 and the revenue generated has also gone down by 3%, mainly due to terror threats in the eight member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

During a summit held in Niamey, in Niger on Wednesday,the organization expressed alarm over the drop, and now aims to stimulate economic activity within it.

“Tourist numbers are not up to the expectations. We have recorded below par performances on tourism, with a decrease of about 6% on tourist inflows in our region. This decline is precisely due to insecurity. The various terror attacks that have occurred have affected our tourist numbers,” explained Gustave Diasso, an economic expert of WAEMU.

Several countries including Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, remain below the “red line” of Western countries, where large tourist numbers originate from.

“We suffered a terrorist attack in mid-January 2016 and our tourism surveys and statistics management is working on a report on the impact of this attack and it appears that in we had 2,900 room reservations canceled,” said Abdoulaye Sankara, an expert from Burkina Faso.

The expert nonetheless reveals that measures are about to be taken to revive economic activity in member countries of the regional organisation.

“We’re thinking about the provisions and measures we need to take in order to support the emergence of this new form of tourists and this new type of customer,” he added.

WAEMU is a group of seven francophone countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) and former Portuguese colony Guinea-Bissau.