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“The people there are very kind”: Russian tourists shared their experiences of traveling to West Africa

The Russian Foreign Ministry invites tourists to take a closer look at new holiday destinations – African Senegal, Sierra Leone and other countries of the continent. “The African countries south of the Sahara, the most popular among Russian tourists, are traditionally Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Mauritius, and the Seychelles. There is interest in Namibia and Ethiopia. But prospects are visible in Senegal and Sierra Leone,” said Vsevolod Tkachenko, director of the Africa Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, adding that, in addition, on the eve of the pandemic, Russian tourists discovered the Gambia, where a visa-free regime operates for our compatriots.

Most subscribers of our telegram channel “Roof of the TourDom”, judging by the reactions left to the post, they reacted to the diplomats’ proposal with skepticism and humor, sometimes black. “Great idea! I haven’t run away from bandits with Berdan guns and Kalash rifles for a long time,” said one of the tourists. Someone remembered that it is recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever to enter Senegal. Another subscriber drew attention to the lack of direct flights: “We would love to fly, but on what?”

However, there are tourists who have already been to West African countries and believe that they can relax there, and the vacation will be memorable. Here are a few comments: “Remember for a long time, everything is fine with security, but Africa is expensive in itself,” “The more countries (open to tourists. – Red.), all the better. If anyone is scared, no one is closing Turkey and Thailand.”

Our subscribers with experience of African travel especially remember Gambia. “I was among the first tourists in this country in 2019. The main resort area (Serrekunda) has excellent beaches and many 3-4 and 5* hotels – the country is very popular among Western Europeans (much more popular than Senegal or Sierra Leone), as it is English-speaking and relatively stable politically. And most importantly, a 12-day trip to a 3* hotel with BB meals cost 26 thousand rubles. per person (air, accommodation, meals, transfers).” And here’s another positive response: “We were on holiday in Gambia, Sheraton 5*. We went to Senegal on an excursion. On safari. I really liked it. The people in Gambia are very kind.”

However, with all the delights of African countries, you should not expect a massive flow of tourists either to Senegal, or to the Gambia, or to Sierra Leone, or to other countries south of the Sahara. There are no direct flights, and if they even appear (although authorities fear that if they are launched, the planes may be arrested, as reported last year talked in the Federal Air Transport Agency) tickets will be expensive, which will affect demand. For comparison, we can cite the current prices for flights to less exotic, but closer to us Algeria and Morocco, where planes fly from Moscow. At the beginning of March, a ticket from the capital to Casablanca will cost 70 thousand rubles round trip with luggage, and to Algeria – 100 thousand rubles.

The only destination where you can expect some kind of tourist activity is Tanzania, or more precisely, the popular island of Zanzibar among tourists. About the opening of direct flights the day before once again talked African diplomats. But even here everything is not easy. The airline AZUR air received permission to fly to Zanzibar last summer, but has not yet launched flights because it has not found a customer. Obviously, those tourists who can afford a beach holiday in Africa will most likely choose Mauritius or the Seychelles, where the tourist infrastructure is much more developed than in Tanzania. And loyal fans of this island now have no problems getting to Zanzibar – with connecting flights through the Emirates. It all comes down to the price of the issue.

Source: Tourdom



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