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Africa News of Saturday, 3 April 2021

Source: africanews.com

Senegal's tourism struggles amid COVID-19

This empty swimming pool is a clear indicator of the crisis facing the tourism sector in Senegal amid COVID-19. In this hotel in Kabrousse, in the seaside resort of Cap-Skirring, in the south of the country, these employees are like survivors. In spite of a turnover divided by more than two, the owner has managed to save a few jobs.

"It was not easy to undergo this sudden drop in business. In addition, we had to take care of the staff. We managed to employ the staff on a rotating basis because we couldn't keep a large team with a small number of clients. " says Jean-Francois, the owner.

The employees of this hotel consider themselves lucky. Lamine Diop Sané was not so lucky. This tour guide lost everything: his job, his passion. Today, he is a dejected man who returns to his place of work, once one of the most popular in Cap Skirring.

"I feel like crying. I feel like crying because this hotel is a hotel that I saw being born, a hotel in which I started my job. But today, I am very sorry to see the state it is in.

But this drop in tourism activity does not only affect workers in the hotel sector. The owner of this equipment rental company is at a loss. Lassana Thiam invested nearly 300 million CFA francs to set up his business. But today, he lives in doubt.

"It has been catastrophic. I invested a lot of money in quads and buggies. I have also invested in kayaks, rosalia, bicycles, jet-skis and wakes. I have a complete nautical base and a complete land base. But at the moment, it's not economically viable, it's not possible. So we make do with what we have. And right now I'm wondering if I should continue or close down permanently," he said.

Since the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has significantly changed the country's economic outlook. In 2020, growth has slowed sharply to an estimated 1.3%, with services (such as tourism and transport) and exports particularly affected.

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