Tourism Proceeds amount to $671 million: Tourism Under-Secretary
KHARTOUM (SUDANOW.info)—Tourism is one of the important sectors that support economies of many countries of the world. The Sudan has recently begun to concentrate on this sector, paying attention to the tourist attractions, building infrastructure, discovery and restoration of the Sudanese antiquities and seeking local and foreign investors. SUDANOW discussed this issue with Sayyed Ali Mahjoub Atta al-Mannan, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife.
SUDANOW: Could you brief us on your role for upgrading the tourism industry in the Sudan?
Under-Secretary: The tourism resources are tremendous and offer a quick remedy for addressing the economic concerns and boosting the economy. Tourism constitutes the main source of revenue in some countries; for instance, it fetches 11 billion US dollars for Egypt, 7 Billion dollars for Tunisia, 72 billion dollars for France and 90 billion dollars for the United States each year. The Sudan comes among the world’s 11 richest countries in the tourist attractions and we seek to develop these attractions by building infrastructures and promoting for them internally and externally. We also plan to exploit the tourist resources like the hotels, the Nile cornice, the Khartoum tourist complex, Dindir Park and Jebel Daer.
Q: The Sudan possesses tourist regions that still remain unexploited. Why?
A: It is true that the country possesses numerous tourist areas in all of the states such as Erkweit tourist summer resort, Dindir Park, Jebel Daer and Sawakin Port. The Ministry of Tourism has a number of plans for encouraging internal tourism like “My Vacation is Sudanese” project which is aimed at creating social interaction among the different parts of the country.
Q: How does tourism contribute to achieving economic stability to the people?
A: It is a general knowledge that every tourist project is developed to contribute to creating job opportunities for the people of the region. These projects also provide such services as education, health and infrastructure in addition to stimulating the economies of the region and the state
Q: How do you address the issue of tourism free of negative effects?
A: This year’s celebration is organized under the theme “tourism under sustainable energy, sustainable development” which is aimed at freeing the atmosphere from adverse effects on the environment while making use of the energy and
minimizing the negative effects that impair tourism.
Q: Which obstacles do you face in the development of tourism?
A: There are several challenges that confront this important sector, including the way in which it is developed and exploitation of the available resources. Attention is currently being paid to the Red Sea coast the modernization of which is progressing satisfactorily. Work is going on in building the required infrastructure and rehabilitation of hotels to accommodate tourists. There are also plans for modernization of Kassala city by establishing resorts and parks. Joint efforts are required for boosting this sector.
Q: How much does tourism contribute to the general treasury and what is the estimated number of the tourists visiting the Sudan?
A: The tourism fetched 671.9 million US dollars while the number of tourists entering the Sudan ranged between 536,400 in 2010 and 495,161 tourists in 2011.
Q: What projects have implemented for upgrading this industry?
A: The implemented projects include those of roads, electricity and water while there is a project for rehabilitation of Sinkat city in collaboration with the Turkish international cooperation organization which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The private sector entered the field of investment by building hotels and retreats and establishing green grounds of tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Q: Agreements have been concluded with several countries, including Qatar, for the development of tourism in Sudan. Can you brief us on the agreement with Qatar, in particular?
A: Yes, an agreement has been concluded with Qatar for rediscovery and overhauling the Sudanese antiquities. This project is funded by Qatar and will last five years and international archeological missions from Britain, Germany, Canada and Poland in addition to other countries taking part in rehabilitation of the Sudanese archeological sites and rediscovery of other sites in the River Nile and Northern states.
Q: What efforts you are making for mobilizing local and international investors for revitalizing tourism?
A: The Ministry is exerting tremendous efforts for finding local and international investors for this purpose. There are more than 160 local and foreign companies, including Italian,
German and Spanish firms.