Tourism & Communications
An unusual tourist destination
Algeria was a popular destination for European travellers in the twentieth century, but is currently visited by few foreigners.
The country’s civil conflict – see History & Politics – brought a halt to tourism and the sector has yet to recover. The government has declared its intention to develop tourism, but tourist facilities are so far limited. Some top-class hotels cater for workers in the oil industry and business travellers.
Sites worth the travel
Roman sites at Timgad and Tipaza are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Despite the small numbers of tourists, Algeria has a lot to offer, particularly for those interested in ancient cultures. There are many well-preserved Roman remains, such as the site at Djémila, which is described by UNESCO as 'one of the world’s most beautiful Roman ruins'.
Other places of historical interest include palaces and mosques built by the Ottoman Turks (such as those located in the Casbah – see Algiers) and the traditional early towns and dwellings of Saharan communities.
The stunning mountain scenery of the northern regions and dramatic desert landscapes to the south provide visitors with unique escapes from the towns and cities.
Improving the country’s infrastructure
Driving in Algeria can be risky, since the country’s roads are beset with accidents. Over recent years, investment has gone into some major new highways, which allow traffic to bypass the more hazardous and narrow local roads.
Traffic police have also been making efforts to crack down on poor drivers and those driving illegally. It is hoped this will reduce road deaths.
A long road
The trans-Algerian east-west motorway cost 11.2 billion dollars to build and was the world’s largest highway project for many years. It runs over 1,200km (from Annaba in the northeast to Tlemcen in the northwest).
Other long-term investment is being made to improve the country’s generally poor public transport, with the possibility of tramways in the future.
In 2011, a metro opened in the capital Algiers. Begun decades ago, conflict and economic hard-times long delayed the work. The 10-station metro (6.5km in length) is only the second underground rail system in Africa (the other is in Cairo). However, at a cost of 50 dinars (0.67 dollars) for a single ticket, the price of travelling underground is too high for many locals.