DRC offers a wide range of tourist attractions through different provinces that have multifaceted features likely to be exploited for the development of several types of tourism (seaside, cultural, leisure, discovery, business, safaris, ...).
It is about :
- 25 million hectares, or 10.47% of the country established in protected areas ;
- 7 national parks and 57 Reserves and Hunting Areas including 5 included on the World Heritage list of UNESCO (Virunga*, Kahuzi Biega*, Garamba*, SALONGA* and fauna reserve of Okapi) ;
- 4 endemic species : Mountain gorilla, Okapi, bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee), Congolese Peacock ;
- A variety of ecosystem covering nearly 145 million hectares, or the second block of tropical forest in the world after the Amazon and one of the biodiversity reserves on the planet ;
- Wilderness ((the Congo River, the Atlantic coast (37 km), the impressive waterfalls, lakes and their contours, mountainous areas of East) built (heritage monuments, religious buildings, and cultural (a rich mix of cultures and traditions around 450 ethnic groups), works of art markets, historic sites ;
- 70 million people, the Congolese population is a prime target for tourism promoters, especially youth in search of recreation ;
- Host infrastructures : 284 airport platforms including 5 international airports, 349 travel agencies in three categories including those affiliated to IATA and other local ; 2,365 hotels unclassified and classified with an overall installed capacity of 27,963 home rooms ; 4500 km of waterways ;
- Several support services to the deployment of tourism activities, among which are : transportation, travel agencies, accommodation and catering ;
- Because of its strategic position on Equator in the heart of Africa, the DRC is located at the crossroads of initial or final destinations for tours of Southern Africa, Central and Eastern.
- Different provinces connection paths allow to organize inter-provincial and intra-regional circuits on various tourist routes through the 11 provinces and from 9 countries that border the DRC.
- The sharing of common tourism products with neighboring countries and the extension of regional spaces destinations are opportunities to enhance existing markets and create new tourism markets in the Great Lakes region, SADC, COMESA and ECCAS to which the DRC belongs.
- The DRC recorded an increasing migration flow, dominated by youth (over 60% of the population and the middle class), the Congolese diaspora as well as the international visitors of the business and cultural community.
III. Legal framework
The revival of tourism has been included among the DRC government’s priorities. This sector, byproduct of the environment, was set up in the Ministry which will incessantly provided with a framework legislation being drafted.
- Peace restoration process in the finals ;
- Renovation of botanical and zoological gardens of Kinshasa through the Public-Private Partnership ;
- Modernization of 4 major airports in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Kisangani ;
- Support to the approval of a hundred tourist investment projects including 85 hotel projects ;
- Strengthening the capacity with the rehabilitation and modernization of some Hotels of Congolese heritage through the Public-Private partnership, including the three 5 star hotels (Grand Hotel Kinshasa, Fleuve CongoHotel in Kinshasa ; Grand Karavia Hotel in Lubumbashi) ;
- Creation of a national airline ;
- The reduction to four of the number of public services which shall operate in the border posts (Migration Management, Department of Hygiene, Congolese Control Authority and Customs Authority) ;
- Opening the country to large events and other international forums (forums, conferences, sports, conferences, ...) ;
- Rehabilitation and construction of historical sites and creation of approval public spaces.
The DRC has revised in 2013 its master plan projected on 15 years with the following objectives to reach 1,146,962 international tourists futures and revenue of US $ 17.300.000.00 estimated at 10% of the value of the Congolese GDP in 2012.
To generate these flows, the areas of intervention below are concerned :
- Promotion and Preservation of the flagship animal species : rehabilitation of national parks, creation of ecological niches, rehabilitation of access roads ;
- Green Tourism Promotion : Environmental conservation ;
- Valuation of reserves and natural sites : Creation of recreation sites, amusement parks ;
- Offer in Tourist transport (air, road, river and lake) ;
- Creation of hosting sites : creation of hotels and hospitality facilities and tourist animation in the perspective of decentralization, the new provinces will need to create luxury hotels ;
- Creation of services of agencies and tourist offices ;
- Support for training and promotion of Tourism (Guide, website editing, online travel agency, design and production of promotional materials).
Targeted investment projects depend on the public-private partnership and require feasibility studies.