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Congo Kinshasa: Congo Kinshasa Tourism Profile

2015/03/05

 

Political instability and military action deepen the social and economic crisis

After a series of clashes between the government’s military forces and armed rebels in 2011, a new phase began at the end of 2012 in the eastern part of the country. Armed groups attacked the civilian people and representatives from humanitarian aid organisations. An international peace mission helped to reduce the violence but the situation remains unstable. As a result, the government has been focusing on the maintenance of peace and the economy, thus paying less attention to the development of tourism.

Large road infrastructure projects aim to improve transportation opportunities

The government has initiated significant infrastructure projects. In 2013, a road reconstruction project in Kinshasa, the capital of the country, was begun in close cooperation with Japanese company Kitano Construction to establish a connection between the centre of the city and its densely populated suburbs. Two Chinese companies as well signed a arrangement for the construction of 800km of roads in the country, while the African Bank of Development invested in the construction of hydro-electric power stations on the Congo river. Road construction projects could help to increase tourism flows between the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring nations over the estimate period.

Eco-tourism in danger

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to eight national parks, five of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, inclunding being home to a lot of endangered species. However, internal conflict in eastern and northern parts of the country has prevented the development of eco-tourism, with rebel forces taking control of the national parks, killing park rangers and hunting rhinos for trade. Gorillas represent a significant attraction for tourists, but despite the Democratic Republic of Congo having a higher gorilla people than Rwanda and Uganda, the lack of an effective policy for the preservation of wildlife has given those nations an chance.

New national airline to drive a turnaround in the country’s air transport industry

The Democratic Republic of Congo has created a new national airline to boost the image of its air transport industry, in which all companies are on a European blacklist, which bans them from flying over Europe. The Congolese government as well signed an agreement on 15 August 2014 with Air France KLM to develop a business plan so that the Congolese national airline can be launched by the end of the year. The government hopes the new airline will help to turn around the country\'s aviation industry.

Potential for new luxury hotels

In the country’s capital, Kinshasa, there were only three luxury hotels in 2013. Investment is needed to substantially improve travel accommodation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, until the number of tourists increases, this is unlikely to happen. Tourism is largely dependent on stability, while the construction of new roads into the inner city as well has the potential to encourage the construction of new hotel outlets.

 Internal conflict destroys eco-tourism

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to eight national parks of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, inclunding being home to a lot of endangered species. However, internal conflict in eastern and northern parts of the country has prevented it from tapping eco-tourism, with rebel forces taking control of the national parks, killing park rangers and hunting rhinos for trade.

Neighbouring nations lure potential eco-tourists

Rwanda and Uganda promote eco-tourism and, in particular, gorilla tourism. Even though the Democratic Republic of Congo has a higher share of the gorilla people, its ineffectiveness in preserving wildlife has handed the chance to its neighbours. Gorilla tourism generates the major share of tourism receipts in both Rwanda and Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is missing out.


Foreign airlines expected to benefit tourism

Foreign airlines could reap benefits from the underdeveloped infrastructure in the country as the potential for development is vast. The country is geographically large, has an underdeveloped road and rail network and travellers are concerned with local airlines’ safety standards. It is the third major country in Africa but the road and rail network is extremely underdeveloped due to the terrain, the climate and a lack of in general investment. Local airlines are considered to be unsafe and have even been banned by the EU from flying over its airspace. As a result, SN Brussels Airlines SA and SA Express, the South African airline, announced plans to operate domestic routes, starting in 2010.

International politics take a toll on road and rail infrastructure development

China’s investment in rail, roads and hospitals was reduced from US$6 billion to US$3 billion owing to pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF was aware that China would gain control over copper and cobalt resources and used the US$11 billion that the Democratic Republic of Congo owes to Parisian creditors to pressurise the country into renegotiating its transaction with China.

Travel operators begin to offer differentiated services

While most services advertised on websites by local travel operators are largely similar, some operators are beginning to differentiate. These differentiated services include outbound trips to new destinations such as Morocco, exclusive tie-ins with a particular airline and partnerships with international travel groups, including Carlson Wagonlit. This is likely to continue as the economy is growing at a higher rate than that of the whole of Europe and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).