Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

24 February 2013

Cameroon Remains Ideal Tourist Destination

In spite of last week's kidnap of French tourists in the Far North Region,Tourism and Leisure Minister on February 22, 2013 in Yaounde reassured the public of Cameroon's safety.

The Minister of State, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maïgari, accompanied by Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, on Friday February 22, 2013 in Yaounde underscored the fact that Cameroon remains an ideal tourist destination in Africa. Bello Bouba was speaking at a press conference organised to throw light on the abduction of seven French tourists in Dabanga, Far North Region on February 19, 2013.

It was disclosed that Cameroon, a land of hospitality, stability and peace is not a dangerous destination. This is justified by the influx of tourists to the country. In the last few months, the country has been host to a group of 154 young Spanish tourists and 42 German tourists.

Impact

The abduction of Moulin Fournier Tangui Patrick and family, the first of its kind in Cameroon, has impacted the sector and economy negatively. Minister Bello Bouba underlined that the breathtaking incident has dragged the name of the country, popularly referred to as "Africa in miniature" into the mud.

Security Measures

The Waza Park, the recreational area where the kidnapped tourists were coming from is still opened to tourists, but security has been stepped up. For efficiency and the better management of tourists, the Minister of State insisted that stakeholders in the tourism sector must collaborate with the administration. He cautioned organisers of leisure trips, bus companies and tourist guides on one hand, and the central and decentralised services of the Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, on the other, to work in synergy. National tourism agencies, he said, will henceforth inform Regional, Divisional and Sub-divisional Delegates of Tourism and Leisure on imminent tourist trips and their itinerary. Individual tourists based in the country who regularly visit tourist sites are equally invited to notify competent services on their sojourn. Discrete measures have also been taken to secure tourists and hotels.

Quizzed on whether the incident was not as a result of security lapses, Bello Bouba Maïgari denied the allegation, emphasising on organised tourism. He explained that individuals wishing to undertake tourist trips should contact guides, tourism units and security forces at the local level on their itinerary for such trips to be well planned. There are tourists who however, prefer not to be escorted especially by security operatives, Bello Bouba said, but such tourists should take precautionary measures. He therefore recommended vigilance and cooperation to tourists.

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