Cameroon has about 800 listed tourist sites, two of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Dja Faunal Reserve and the Sangha Trinational). Twelve others are awaiting validation, and twenty are on the tentative list.
However, the country is not managing to really capitalise on these achievements. Barely 500,000 tourists visit the country every year. And yet, considered as "Africa in miniature", Cameroon has an enormous tourist potential that it does not manage to sufficiently develop and exploit to its advantage. Cameroon now wishes to make tourism a driving force for its development.
Indeed, estimates by the Ministry of Tourism show that with one million tourists per year, the country would earn about CFAF 75 billion in visa fees, CFAF 10 billion in airport stamp fees and CFAF 120 billion in tourist taxes paid to the State of Cameroon. A significant contribution to the economy, given the current gloomy business climate. The sector therefore has an undeniable potential for profitability. The Cameroonian authorities have planned to exceed one million visitors in 2020, however the global health crisis has drastically limited the estimates.
At the social level, Cameroon is rich in cultural diversity with more than 200 registered tribes, grouping the main African cultural areas that share the same cultural and historical heritage, languages, values and religious representations. It is of course difficult to list all of them, especially since a large number of them are tending to disappear due to the increasing development of the country (this is the global trend throughout the African continent), and demographic data is scarcely provided.
However, among the main ones are the Sudano-Sahelians, the peoples of the coast, the Grassfields, the Pygmies, the Peuhls, etc., who are the main victims of the conflict. It is obvious that at the administrative level, coordination between the different public entities involved in tourism activities still needs to be improved, and that some sites suffer from a lack of adequate development and sufficient visibility.
But in the opinion of the experts, the country can do much better. It seems to lack real political will. However, it must be recognised that the socio-political context has, in recent months, generated obstacles to the development of the tourism sector.
Among others, the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist sect in the northern part of the country, the current crisis in the South-West and North-West regions, and more recently, the pandemic at Covid-19. In a normal health context, the CADIIF intends to exploit the country´s potential and boost Cameroon´s tourist traffic by supporting projects that aim at promoting the influence and visibility of Cameroon´s cultural and natural wealth.