Political instability and military action deepen the social and economic crisis
After a series of clashes between the government’s military forces and armed rebels in 2011, a new phase began at the end of 2012 in the eastern part of the country. Armed groups attacked the civilian population and representatives from humanitarian aid organisations. An international peace mission helped to reduce the violence but the situation remains unstable. As a result, the government has been focusing on the maintenance of peace and the economy, thus paying less attention to the development of tourism.
Large road infrastructure projects aim to improve transportation opportunities
The government has initiated significant infrastructure projects. In 2013, a road reconstruction project in Kinshasa, the capital of the country, was begun in close cooperation with Japanese company Kitano Construction to establish a connection between the centre of the city and its densely populated suburbs. Two Chinese companies also signed a contract for the construction of 800km of roads in the country, while the African Bank of Development invested in the construction of hydro-electric power stations on the Congo river. Road construction projects could help to increase tourism flows between the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries over the forecast period.
Eco-tourism in danger
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to eight national parks, five of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as being home to many endangered species. However, internal conflict in eastern and northern parts of the country has prevented the development of eco-tourism, with rebel forces taking control of the national parks, killing park rangers and hunting rhinos for trade. Gorillas represent a significant attraction for tourists, but despite the Democratic Republic of Congo having a higher gorilla population than Rwanda and Uganda, the lack of an effective policy for the preservation of wildlife has given those countries an advantage.
New national airline to drive a turnaround in the country’s air transport industry
The Democratic Republic of Congo has created a new national airline to boost the image of its air transport industry, in which all companies are on a European blacklist, which bans them from flying over Europe. The Congolese government also signed an agreement on 15 August 2014 with Air France KLM to develop a business plan so that the Congolese national airline can be launched by the end of the year. The government hopes the new airline will help to turn around the country's aviation industry.
Potential for new luxury hotels
In the country’s capital, Kinshasa, there were only three luxury hotels in 2013. Investment is needed to substantially improve travel accommodation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, until the number of tourists increases, this is unlikely to happen. Tourism is largely dependent on stability, while the construction of new roads into the inner city also has the potential to encourage the construction of new hotel outlets.
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