Rotten chicken, astronomical prices...The face of tourism in Algeria

Algerians flee their country in summer faced with non-qualitative and overpriced tourism. They prefer to go to neighboring Tunisia with which the borders have just reopened. They would also choose Morocco if the borders had not been closed since 1994.

“Algerian hotels charge astronomical prices”, indicates the local press, which complains of a mediocre tourist offer both in terms of the number of beds in relation to demand, and that of the quality of service, well below the standards, especially for the prices displayed.

“Exasperated, Algerians sometimes denounce them on social networks, which rekindles the debate on the quality of tourist services in the country”, indicate the media in reference to the surprisingly high prices for hotels in Algeria, which pushes tourists to to go to Tunisia, or to rent houses from inhabitants.

One night in an Algerian hotel is the equivalent of 6 in a Tunisian hotel with much more comfort, it is underlined, by advancing the comparative prices, in particular 6 nights in “All Inclusive” in Sousse in a 4 star hotel for 59,900 DA per person (i.e. 4,200 dirhams), or a 7-night stay in a waterfront hotel for 56,100 DA (just over 3,900 dirhams).

For the local media, the causes of this structural problem of tourism in Algeria comes down to a delay in the field, considering that at “a certain time (Algeria was) a popular place for tourists”.

But for Salim Ayache, Algerian expert in the field of tourism, there is much more than that. He affirms that there are direct or indirect factors to value a destination, and that they are not limited only to the beach or the construction of hotels.

“There’s the beach, the hotel, but also entertainment, restaurants, tourist circuits… In terms of segmentation, we always talk about the hotel and the beach when that’s not true. However, a tourist destination is a whole: transport, accommodation at competitive prices with open buffets… Which we don’t do at home. And even if we do, it’s very mediocre to the point that vacationers prefer to eat outside than in the hotel restaurant,” he says.

The “Himayatc” consumer protection association has also qualified the prices in Algerian hotels as “astronomical”, which explains the great enthusiasm of Algerians for the Tunisia destination where they get their money’s worth. The announcement of the reopening of the land borders with the neighbor, in force since July 15, caused a rush of Algerians towards the borders.

Worse, not only are prices considered too high, but the quality of services leaves something to be desired in hotels and restaurants in Algeria. Evidenced by a surreal scene where a chicken infested with worms was left in the middle of an oven and was presumably to be served to customers. “The nauseating scene was filmed in a hotel-restaurant on the west coast of the country and published by the president of the Consumer Protection Association (APOCE), Mustapha Zebdi”, notes the press.

And in another video, in a hotel in Oran this time, control agents found cooked meats which were then frozen to be served to customers. The control officers ordered the destruction of said meat and Mustapha Zebdi confided that such scenes were only the “emerging part of the iceberg”.

He also denounced the illogical awarding of stars to hotels. “A classified hotel must deserve its star”, he thundered, but, he denounces, “we see hotels, infested with cockroaches and other critters, classified 4 stars! The Ministry of Tourism is called upon to review the specifications and the classification criteria. Anyone can pretend to be the owner of a 4-star hotel when it’s dirty inside”.

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