International airlines bring new dynamism to travel and tourism
Two prestigious international airlines brought new vitality to travel and tourism with the introduction of increased flight schedules. This resulted in improved performance for the Gabonese travel and tourism market. Most notably, in 2013, Turkish Airlines, which offers flights to a wide range of countries across the world, added the 97th country to its network by offering flights to Libreville, the capital of Gabon, and its largest city. Flights were available every three days between the Turkish capital of Istanbul and Libreville. Air France followed the same strategy by providing daily flights between Libreville and Charles de Gaulle, Paris.
Ecotourism: the new trend in Gabon
Located on the west coast of central Africa, Gabon may not be known for being home to the best road infrastructure and accommodation in the world, although undoubtedly it is home to a huge range of attractions that draw people from across the globe. With its huge range of environmental bio-diversity, tourists travel from far and wide to experience the country’s remarkable wildlife, landscape and scenery, stunning beaches, dynamic cities and favourable weather. These factors and many more boosted tourism in Gabon, allowing visitors to interact with nature, and practise extreme sports and adventure.
Gabonese government to invest over US$85 million in tourist development
The National Infrastructure Master Plan 2011 to 2016 is worth over US$11 billion and comprises of 21 major projects. Its aim is to develop a new infrastructure to support the socio-economic growth of Gabon. This includes new roads, railways, ports and other transport infrastructure. Under the Gabonese Master Plan, over US$85 million will be channelled into the development of tourism, and the exciting shift in dynamics created by this public initiative continued to improve the performance of the Gabonese travel and tourism market.
Raw materials attract business travellers
Gabon is home to an exceptionally diverse and accessible range of natural resources, including petroleum, iron, diamond, gold, timber and uranium. With such diversity comes considerable opportunity for investment from across the world, including the exploration of these natural resources. The vast, un-tapped potential of Gabon and its natural resources contributed massively to the number of new visitors to the country, offering lucrative investment opportunities available to savvy international businesses.
Crime: problematic in some areas
While a positive performance was observed in Gabonese travel and tourism, security and the threat of crime remained a major threat to its continuing development. Even in major cities, such as Libreville, the police force was stretched and under-equipped. Tourists were advised to remain in cities, rather than venture out alone, meaning that many were restricted in terms of their travel experience, potentially missing out on exploring the wider countryside, its scenery and culture. This issue limited the potential growth of tourism in Gabon.
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