Ancient cities, desert safaris, diving in the Red Sea — Sudan has all this and more to offer the tourist. H.E. Dr Mohamed Abuzaid Mustafa (MA), Minister of Tourism, Antiquities & Wildlife reveals how the government plans to bring these hidden treasures to the attention of tourists and investors from around the world
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LE: What is the five-year plan for the tourism sector in Sudan, and which markets are you looking to develop?
MA: The first goal of the five-year plan is to make it easier for tourists to come to Sudan, either through tour companies or as individual travelers, and to facilitate a better visa process. Another issue related to tourism is security, and how to assure the safety to move around at places of interest and in other areas in Sudan.
Our ministry is built on three pillars: tourism, wildlife and antiquities. For antiquities, the main focus is our current partnership with Europe. We have more than 43 missions that help us to investigate and develop the archaeological sites here in Sudan. Discovering and rehabilitating these sites is priority. Sudan has a very rich history and through these discoveries, we can have a better and more detailed view of our culture and heritage.
Regarding wildlife and nature, we have 800km of coastline on the Red Sea, a premier area for diving. Currently, the divers come mainly from European countries such as Italy and Germany, but there is a lot to explore here for divers from around the world.
We need investors to visit Port Sudan to build up the tourism facilities for diving and also for hotels. For tourists who love wildlife, we have the Dinder National Park, with an area of more than 10,000km2, the size of Lebanon. Sudan also has the River Nile, the longest river in the world. The Blue Nile and White Nile come together in Khartoum, at what we call the Mughran (conflux), and the river continues all the way to the Mediterranean in Egypt.
LE: How do you currently promote everything Sudan has to offer to international tourists?
MA: First, we need to change the bad image of Sudan in the international media. We are trying to overcome this by attending tourism fairs around the world, to promote Sudan’s six main tourist attractions, which are the Dinder National Park, diving in Port Sudan; community tourism in Gazira State, the historical sites in Northern State and Khartoum State, and the old capital Omdurman. We also want to promote more projects for investment in Sudan in different sectors. Lastly, it is important to facilitate the transfer of capital in and out of Sudan for investors, so that doing business will become easier for them.
LE: Ideally, what type of tourist would you like to bring to Sudan?
MA: We are targeting all the geographic and market segments: Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Asians. We can offer them adventure tourism, and wildlife, nature and cultural experiences. We have many areas in Sudan for adventure tourism, such as desert safaris, diving, for observing wildlife and even for hunting. Sudan is working hard to promote all the facets of its tourism industry to investors and also to attract more visitors to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of
LE: What is your dream project? If you could have just one project that would attract the attention of international investors what would it be?
MA: Our dream project is a national survey of potential tourist destinations, to draw up a master plan for tourism all over Sudan. There is a lot of potential for tourism here, given the many historical and cultural sites, the wildlife, desert and the opportunities for safari, adventure tourism and diving, to name just a few. There is also a great deal of diversity, but we have to capitalise on these resources. With our five-year master plan for the next five years, we will bring this potential to the attention of tourists all over the world.
We feel that a lot of tourist spots in Sudan have been concealed for many years. With the help of our friends from Europe and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, we will promote all these hidden treasures and show them to the world very soon.