1. Legal framework
The Government of the DRC has made the revival of tourism one of the government’s priorities. This sector, which was formerly a by-product of the environment, has been set up as a Ministry, which will soon be equipped with a framework law that is currently being drawn up.
The DRC offers a varied range of tourist attractions through different provinces that present multifaceted characteristics that can be exploited for the development of several types of tourism (seaside, cultural, leisure, discovery, business, safaris...).
- 25 million hectares, i.e. 12% of the national territory made up of protected areas;
- 7 National Parks and 57 Reserves and Hunting Areas, 5 of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List (VIRUNGA*, KAHUZI BIEGA*, GARAMBA* SALONGA* and the OKAPIS Wildlife Reserve);
- 4 endemic species: Mountain Gorilla, Okapi, Bonobo (dwarf chimpanzee), Congolese Peacock;
- A variety of ecosystems covering nearly 145 million hectares, the second largest tropical forest massif in the world after the Amazon and one of the planet’s biodiversity reserves;
- Natural sites (the Congo River, the Atlantic coast (37 km), the impressive waterfalls, the lakes and their contours, the mountainous areas of the East); built (heritage monuments, religious buildings; and cultural (a rich mix of cultures and traditions around 450 ethnic groups), art markets, historical sites ;
- 70,000,000 inhabitants, the Congolese population is a privileged target of tourism promoters, especially youth in search of leisure activities;
- Reception infrastructures: 284 airport platforms including 5 international airports, 349 travel agencies divided into three categories including those affiliated to IATA and other local ones; 3,235 unclassified and classified hotels with a total installed capacity of 27,963 rooms; 4,500 km of navigable waterways;
- Several support services for the deployment of tourism activities, including: transport, travel agencies, accommodation and catering.
- Due to its strategic position on the Equator in the heart of Africa, the DRC is located at the crossroads of the final or initial destinations of tourist circuits in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa.
- Different provincial connections allow the organization of inter-provincial and intra-regional tours on different tourist routes through the 26 provinces and from the 9 border countries that make up the DRC.
- The sharing of common tourism products with the border countries as well as the extension of destinations in regional areas are opportunities to increase existing markets and lead to new tourism markets in the Great Lakes, SADC, COMESA and ECCAS regions, of which DRC is a part.
- The DRC is experiencing a growing migratory flow, dominated by youth (more than 60% of the population and the middle class), the Congolese diaspora and international visitors from the business and cultural world.
- Peacemaking process in its final phase;
- Renovation of the Botanical and Zoological Gardens of Kinshasa through the Public-Private Partnership;
- Modernization works of 4 main airports in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Kisangani;
- Accompaniment to the approval of about a hundred tourist investment projects including 85 hotel projects;
- Strengthening the reception capacity with the rehabilitation and modernization of some Congolese heritage hotels through the Public-Private Partnership, including the 3 to 5-star hotels (Grand Hotel Kinshasa and Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa; Grand Karavia Hotel in Lubumbashi);
- Creation of a national airline;
- The reduction to four of the number of State services that must operate at border posts (General Directorate of Migration, Hygiene Service, Congolese Control Office and General Directorate of Customs and Excise);
- Opening the country to major events and other international meetings (forums, congresses, sports, conferences, etc.);
- Rehabilitation and construction of historical sites and creation of public spaces for leisure activities.
During the year 2013, the DRC revised its master plan projected over 15 years with the objectives of eventually reaching 1,146,962 international tourists and revenues of US$ 17,300,000.00 estimated at 10% of the value of the Congolese GDP in 2012.
In order to generate these flows, the following areas of intervention are concerned:
- Promotion and preservation of flagship animal species: rehabilitation of national parks, creation of ecological niches, rehabilitation of access roads;
- Promotion of green tourism: conservation of the environment;
- Enhancement of reserves and natural sites: Creation of leisure sites, amusement parks;
- Offer in tourist transport (air, road, river and lake);
- Creation of accommodation sites: creation of hotels and tourist reception and animation infrastructures in the perspective of decentralization, the new provinces will need to create high standard hotels;
- Creation of services of tourist agencies and offices;
- Support for training and promotion of Tourism (Guide, website editing, online tourism agency, design and production of promotional materials).
Targeted investment projects fall within the scope of public-private partnership and require feasibility studies.