annaba, la belle

OK, needed a break from the dusty city of Cirta and headed to Annaba for a couple of days. Now, I’ve been to Annaba several times in the height of the summer, when it’s hopping with tourists and locals until all hours of the night, so didn’t know what to expect in the off season and, frankly, wasn’t expecting much.

I was very, very impressed. Don’t know if it’s just the contrast, or the fact that it was sunny and in the 70’s, but found Annaba teeming with life and activity: construction that's clearly in progress and not begun several years ago and then stalled, road-widening and beautification, tourist development, etc. Had a long talk with someone in the tourist industry and was told that in five years Annaba will be unrecognizable…but in a good way. The coast is being developed by Saudi and Spanish funded projects which include ports, hotels and tourist complexes, etc. Apparently the projects are well thought out and if carried out to plan will revitalize the economy and make Annaba a great destination for travelers, both local and foreign.

Algeria has only to follow its neighbors Morocco and Tunisia to see how tourism can be developed successfully. Ten years behind due to the “black period” when tourism wasn’t possible here, with the support of the government and outside funding, Algeria, which many compare at present to Spain 25 years ago, will no doubt establish itself as a prime spot for tourism, which will change it but will bring jobs and a boost to the economy that will benefit all.

As far as Constantine, well, they have a longer way to go…I read on one forum an idea of offering tourists the opportunity to bungee jump or rock climb from the gorges du Rhummel! (That's instead of committing suicide or throwing garbage, which, unfortunately are its main uses today).

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