- A total of 209,956 tourists visited Angola last year, which represents an increase of more than 15,627 people as compared with the previous year's 194,329. The tourism sector is still very under-developed in Angola, which yet has to construct an infrastructure for tourists after decades of civil war, but Luanda authorities are now showing an interest.
The statistics on Angola's growing tourism were released in Luanda by the director of the Office of Studies, Planning and Statistics of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MINOTUR), Rosa António Gomes Cruz, who considered the figure encouraging as Angola has of recently become "the destination to many foreign citizens."
According to the source, quoted today by the state-run Agency for Private Investments (ANIP), "this trend is basically justified by the respect and trust the country has been gaining in the international arena," especially with the advent of peace on 04 April 2002 and the development actions that have been taken by the Angolan government towards improving the country’s tourist image.
"Peace has come to guarantee the stability that the tourist industry needs to operate, hence these figures, whose trend tends to increase in coming years," she said. Of course, tourism started at about zero in 2002, but growth in numbers has still been significant during the last few years.
According to ANIP, Europe has topped the origin of tourists in Angola with 102,025 visitors, followed by Africa with 45,100. Of the total tourists recorded, 144,087 entered the country on work purposes, 27,000 on business. Family affairs brought 19,557 people. Others came on holidays and other reasons.
Like the past, this year the main means of transport used by tourists was airplane with 153,248, which represented a rise of more than 11,445 as compared with 2004 data, with 143,803 tourists. Road trips followed with 51,562 cases, an increase of 4,923 as compared with the previous year that recorded 46,639 passengers.
Angola has a very long and varied coastline and an interior encompassing mountains, vast savannas with the typical "safari wildlife" wanted by Western tourists and small parts of rainforest in the far north. Also culturally, Angola has much to offer tourists, including the busy capital Luanda with a slight Latin feeling, the ancient capital of the historic Congo empire and a large number of peoples with a rich history and handicraft tradition.
The large country is however not able to receive many tourists, and travellers are still mostly advised to stay within Luanda. Angola's infrastructure was widely destroyed during the 1975-2002 civil war and large parts of the countryside are still heavily mined. Although the country now is totally calm - except for the exclave Cabinda - travelling is therefore not advisable. Not even in Luanda, the tourist infrastructure is sufficiently well developed.
While Angola has gone through a booming economic development since the end of the civil war, there has so far been little government focus on the promising tourism industry, except for the rapid improvement of roads and railroads. Luanda authorities now however seem to have discovered this economic sector and aim at developing it within the next few years.
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