After the president’s decision to postpone the legislative elections in April 2012, the political situation once again became tense in the country. In the spring of 2013, there were protests across the country, with hundreds of injured persons. The September 2013 parliamentary elections ended the political transition. At the end of September, these elections resulted in victory for the president’s party. The opposition contested the results, although, at the same time, the government tried to reconcile the protesters and participated in the negotiating process with opposition leaders.
Being one of the world’s most important sources of bauxites, Guinea’s mining potential attracted business tourists from all over the world. Companies from Russia, East European countries, India and China, as well as the US, Australia and European countries, invested in the Guinean mining industry, which, if properly exploited in a stable political and healthier business climate, could drive economic diversification and improvements in transportation, boosting incoming tourism flows to the country.
Guinea’s government managed to clear the country’s external debt in September 2012, and thus freed the country´s resources for economic development. In particular, it increased investment in construction projects within the transportation and travel accommodation categories (to provide more business tourists with accommodation). The European Investment Fund supported projects in road construction in Guinea and financed the asphalting of streets and local roads in key cities.
Despite the positive performances seen in Guinea´s travel and tourism industry in recent years as the government had finally prioritised the development of this sector in its programme for 2013 with the objective to reach two million tourists by 2017, the Ebola outbreak has posed a major threat to its development, with travel restrictions dampening the economy of the region.
Once containment happens, it is likely that the positive news will be widespread, alleviating fears about the virus in Africa, particularly Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. It is during this time that private and public players in Africa should work together to promote Africa as a destination to international tourists, who are much more likely to come once the threat of the virus, is contained.
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