Algerian hostage crisis could make tourism in the Sahara even more difficult
ALGIERS, Algeria - The awe-inspiring dunes and wild mountains of Algeria's Sahara have lured adventure travellers for decades, but their latest incarnation — as a crossroad for the al-Qaida militants who attacked a natural gas complex — is likely to make them even more inaccessible.
At least 37 hostages died in the four-day siege deep in the desert. Algeria's government, ambivalent about tourism in the best of time, is expected to impose new restrictions on the vast south, whose residents eke out a living on the few intrepid tourists who arrive.
Industry officials say the numbers of tourists visiting the deep south dropped from 1,807 in 2011 to 643 last year, dozens of tour business have closed and most Europeans planning on coming cancelled their reservations after the attack.