Travel and Tourism in Benin
Benin remains an attractive destination for tourists
A recovery in the inbound flows from European countries as well as continuing growth of the tourist inbound flows from neighbouring countries was seen in 2011. Business and leisure tourism are both being developed, but the promotion of educational programmes is also becoming more popular to attract European and North American students to the country. France and Italy were the most dynamic European source markets in both business and leisure tourism.
Developing beach, eco- and cultural tourism
Benin is blessed with a beautiful natural environment. Being a tropical region, it has an abundance of wildlife and rainforests, as well as the Parc de la Pandjeri and Parc W national reserves. It also has a long Atlantic coastline, which is attractive to beach tourists. The Fishing Road project along 32km of this coastline is an ambitious initiative to attract beach tourists. The country, which has a rich history, is home to the Ouidah Slave Route, as well as the Royal Palaces of Abomey, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The government expects to attract an increasing number of African-American and African-European tourists, many of whose ancestors were deported through the Ouidah Slave Route.
Reinforcement of Air France’s monopoly
The company gained share on the market as a result of the Libyan crisis, which weakened Afriqiyah Airways. This hampers the air transport service to tourists from neighbouring countries. All airlines operating in Benin have also been banned from flying into the EU after failing to meet safety standards. As a result, Air France’s monopoly on European routes will continue and prices are expected to remain high, which will likely prove a deterrent to tourists.
Opening of Marriott international hotel intensifies competition
Marriott International signed an agreement with SHRL-Benin SA to manage an upscale, 200-room, full-service Marriott Hotels & Resorts-branded hotel in Cotonou, Benin, which is scheduled to open in 2013. Located on a prime beachfront site adjacent to Cotonou’s convention centre and within a 5-minute drive from the international airport and sea port, the Cotonou Marriott will provide recreational amenities including a private beach, outdoor swimming pool, a health and leisure club, tennis courts and a state-of-the-art business centre. The quality of services offered by hotels in Benin is improving as a result of increased competition.
Car rental progress with the accent on better service
The car rental industry is developing along with the transport system in general after initially using “cheap” Chinese cars the car rental firms are now investing in better vehicles and developing their service to the client. More players are offering online services, but the existing development of the internet is still not sufficient to significantly boost the industry.