Dominating the north Africa and the Arab World, Algeria has always had a significant global presence. Nowadays though, tourists and business travellers appreciate the country’s exclusive attractions and on-the-rise economy, naturally creating an increasing demand for more serviced accommodation.
Algeria is the largest country in Africa and tenth largest the world. Forty-one million Algerians live in this north African state, with ninety-nine per cent speaking native Arabic and Berber languages. Only around 500,000 of the population occupy the Saharan desert landscape, which covers ninety per cent of the land. The total landmass covers over nine hundred thousand square miles, bordering several countries, which include Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco. In the north is Algeria’s most populous city and capital, Algiers, which looks out onto the Mediterranean Sea. Its coastal position makes Algiers a key trading port and hub of north African tourism. Algeria does have other major cities such as Oran, Setif and Constantine, but it comes as no surprise that Algiers is where the highest concentration of serviced accommodation lives.
The Mediterranean coastline meant Algeria was susceptible to prying foreigners throughout its history. The earliest influences came from the Roman and Carthage empires, but afterwards, the Arabian population managed to maintain independence for several centuries. Algeria then became an Ottoman territory in the seventeenth century, before succumbing to nineteenth-century French invasions. During this period, native Algerians were only considered citizens of the colony if they renounced their Islamic culture, but many stood firm in opposition. Algeria did manage to secure independence in 1962 thanks to the success of the Algerian National Liberation Front military successes against the French. Uncertainty has been cast over the country since regarding leadership but after learning from mistakes of civil war and social rest, the country is targeting reformation.
Perhaps not labelled as the wealthiest country in the world, Algeria’s economy still ranks as the third most significant in the MENA region. Socioeconomic reforms have been at the forefront of the government’ plans, targeting important Human Development Indicators (HDI) and implementing policies similar to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to Algeria’s pivotal dependence on oil trade, the country’s debt has been cleared, meaning national poverty has been reduced by 20% and infrastructure projects have begun. Improvements to social conditions have enabled prosperity to emerge in other areas and continued economic diversification would allow positives to keep coming.
Amongst these positives is incoming foreign investment. The introduction of new investment law in 2016 has been in the vanguard of overseas participation in Algeria, promoting incentives such as ten-year tax exemptions for business start-ups in certain locations. According to Industry Minister Abesslem Bouchouareb the bill “provides for new mechanisms to ensure support to investors and the improvement of the business climate”. Investment in agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors are particularly given precedence to. Business travellers are also attracted to Algeria’s geographical position, acting as a Europe-Africa and internal Maghreb interface. This also means the North African state has one of the largest local and foreign consumer markets in Africa. Algeria has created an attractive framework for business living, encouraging expats to stay in corporate accommodation in major cities such as Algiers.
Only the nationals of Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Seychelles and Tunisia are eligible for visa-free entry into Algeria. Everyone else requires a visa, and this can be a lengthy process, so be sure to plan in advance. Once in the country, visa can be extended through the Department des Etrangers found in Algiers.
Accommodating to culture and its predominant Muslim faith are key to staying in Algeria. Muslim traditions, customs and values should all be respected to avoid attracting unwanted attention or causing offence, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan between May and June. Precautions may involve avoiding public displays of alcohol drinking or dressing modestly around religious, military or historic sites. Worth knowing too is that homosexuality is illegal in Algeria. Besides these concerns, it is important to remember that the country still ranks as one of the top ten countries where the population feel safe (Gallup’s Law and Order Index). The government is also consistently implementing safety precautions to diminish fears of danger associated with Algerian travel.
Despite Algeria’s strong network of public transportation, foreign travellers do also opt to drive. This is doable trusting you drive on the right-hand side, bring your own driving license, obtain an international license and provide proof of registration and insurance documentation. Once this is all done you can hit the road. Worth considering though is how confident you are of navigating through the dominant Saharan landscape and whether your car is appropriate. There is no harm in preparing your routes and avoiding conditions outside of your comfort zone. Alternatively, cheap and equipped with an experienced driver, taxis are typically a good way of getting around. Be sure to bring plenty of the national currency though, the Algerian Dinar (DZD), to fund your taxi-based travel around the country.
Over 2.4 million internationals made the trip to Algeria in 2017, and the lures of Algeria’s capital, Algiers, contributed significantly to these numbers. Algiers is laden with remnants of national history. The Notre Dame d’Afrique is a hit amongst tourists, showcasing some of the city’s best ancient architecture. Overlooking the Bay of Algiers, the nineteenth-century basilica embodies not only the French-Algeria period but also how much the country has changed. Equally personifying Algeria’s new beginnings is the iconic Maqam Echahid monument. Opening twenty years after the country obtained independence, the structure portrays an ‘Eternal Flame’ and includes the intriguing Museum of El Mujahid. These structures give visitors a glimpse into how the country has reformed, from its proud, but outdated past.
It is not all about the past though, and outside of the capital, there is an abundance of things to do and places to see. Why not start your Algerian exploration at either the Tassili N’Ajjer or El Kala National Park? Tassili gives off a more prehistoric vibe, featuring sandstone mountain ranges and unique landforms, whilst El Kala boasts grand forestation and exotic wildlife. Both are easily accessible, navigable and lovely UNESCO-rated getaway locations. Perhaps the most well-recognised world heritage site in Algeria is the town of Tipaza. Once significant Roman Empire territory, the town is one of the most popular sites outside of the capital. Tipaza is jam-packed with mesmerising ruins and mosaics, as well as the remains of the great basilica and town’s amphitheatre.
Whatever way you intend to experience Algeria, scenery, history and extravagance is always just on the doorstep of your serviced apartment. This is accompanied by a positive business climate, encouraging an increasing number of corporates to make the trip to Algeria each year.
Otherwise known as Algiers Airport, this airport is named after the former president of Algeria and is based other a forty-minute drive away from Algiers city centre.
The two most prominent airlines in Algeria are Air Algérie and Tassili Airlines, serving international and domestic services respectively. These airlines also function out of other major airports, including Touat-Cheikh Sidi Mohamed Belkebir Airport (AZR) and Oued Irara–Krim Belkacem Airport (HME).
SNTF is Algeria’s national railway operator, running services across nearly 2,500 miles of track. Infrastructural investment has been common in recent times, so the system is relatively modern and practical.
Visit www.sntf.dz for Algerian train times, routes and fares.
Serving over twenty-five million passengers through nineteen separate stations, the only metro system in Algeria functions out of the capital.
Long distance buses are common in Algeria, allowing passengers to travel as far south as Tamanrasset. overall, Algerian buses have a reputation for being convenient and comfortable. Bus travel is much more common in the north though.