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Chad: Chad Tourism Profile


Chad - Travel and Tourism
The government of Chad is giving main concern to the improvement of the local tourism industry so that the nation can win its fair share of the millions of visitors each year from around the globe who want to experience firsthand some of the very special places that abound on the African continent.
The tourism industry in Chad is serviced by equally local and international operators. The capital city is served by international airlines. Some airports also provide charter services allowing visitors to access remote parts of the country not serviced by scheduled airlines. While the cost of getting to Chad from Europe, Asia or America is relatively high, local travel costs range from very cheap to deluxe on international scales. International car rental companies are represented.

Some of the large American and European hotel chains have a foothold in Chad. Standards of establishments and service range from international six star ratings to, quite simply, primitive. New tourism and leisure facilities are being developed. Chad has diplomatic representation from several countries.

Violence and Insecurity Impede Travel and Tourism Development

Chad is one of those nations where history seems to keep repeating itself. Since it gained independence from France in 1960, the political and security situation in the country has remained volatile. Recurring violence and tensions, such as ethnic clashes, banditry, and fighting between government forces and armed rebel groups, both Chadian and Sudanese, have contributed to a fragile security situation in the country. Inbound tourist numbers declined by more than 50% between 2000 and 2008 due to heightened violence and the persistent lack of security. The lack of tourist patronage has also forced several players in the travel and tourism industry to cease operations. This in turn has increased the numbers of unemployed Chadians, making hopes for economic development in the country anytime soon seem unrealistic.

Booming Oil Economy Boosts Business Travel

Chad might be one of Africa’s poorest countries, yet it has one major source of wealth – oil – and it has only started to be tapped in the last few years. Despite the threat of political instability and insecurity in country, the number of tourist arrivals rose by almost 4% in 2008, thanks to an increase in business arrivals, which continues to dominate inbound tourism and registered the highest growth rate of 7%. Oil has now become Chad’s main foreign currency earner and is attracting business travellers from the energy sector worldwide. Revenues from the booming oil sector have helped to kick-start its faltering economy and are transforming the country into an attractive place for business and traders. Ever since the Chad-Cameroon pipeline was inaugurated in 2003, the country has been exporting oil on a significant scale. It is reckoned to have reserves of up to one billion barrels. Although that figure is not large in comparison to major oil producers in OPEC, by local standards the potential spoils are vast.

High Taxes and Custom Duties Deter Foreign Direct Investment

Chad’s growing oil economy has been attracting more interest internationally, especially from foreign oil companies. However, the government has been finding it difficult to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into other sectors of the economy, which also includes travel and tourism. A major handicap to foreign investment in Chad has been high taxes and customs duties. According to Heritage Foundation’s 2008 Index of Economic Freedom report, Chad has one of the highest corporate tax rates (as high as 40%) in the sub-Saharan African region; it ranked 35th amongst 40 countries in terms of economic freedom. Because there are very few formal businesses in the country from which taxes can be raised, the government is taxing companies heavily in order to acquire a modest amount of revenue. Corruption is another major problem in tax collection and customs agencies. Other notable constraints to foreign investment in Chad include the several bureaucratic requirements, high energy costs, limited infrastructure and the scarcity of skilled labour. The government, however, has been embarking on measures to reduce certain taxes and harmonize its tax and customs system with those of other countries in the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC)

Challenges of Poor Infrastructure and High Transport Costs

Chad is a landlocked country, and one of the biggest handicaps to its economic development is the inferior quality of transportation links within the country as well as with some of its neighbours. Decades of civil war have crippled the development of transport infrastructure, especially in the north and east of the country, where roads are merely tracks across the desert and land mines continue to present a danger. Fuel supplies are also erratic and often very expensive. There are no railways and river transport is limited to the southwest corner. Also, only a very limited number of direct international flights serve the country. Poor infrastructure has driven up transportation costs, which have further served to heighten vulnerability, restrict movement, and also limit access to basic tourism services. Nevertheless, some improvements are expected as the government plans to build and upgrade existing roads with a yearly investment of about CFAF4 billion. This will boost travel throughout the country.