Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Conflict between Coastal Tourism Development and Sustainability: Case of Mostaganem, Western Algeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Conflict between Coastal Tourism Development and Sustainability: Case of Mostaganem, Western Algeria

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Coastal resources and tourism in Algeria are under development, although they represent an important natural, cultural and economic potential (Bouadam 2011). The seaside tourism is an important economic asset for the South Mediterranean countries, as Morocco and Tunisia; in Algeria is just the use of the beach and bathing area during the summer holidays. After the independence in 1962, seaside tourist accommodations existed only in main cities (Algiers, Oran and Annaba). Since, Algeria neglected the tourism as a source of revenues. Between 2004 and 2013, the touristic activities brought just an annual average of US$ 623 million (Ministry of Land-use Planning, Tourism, and Handicraft 2015). Nowadays, the Algerian tourism sector is in a contradictory situation: an attractive image and interesting opportunities for the development of touristic activities against a deficit in accommodation capacity, marketing, and hostelry experience. The consequence was the worst position of the country in the list of the best-targeted tourist destinations in Africa (Bouadam 2011). According to the National Informatics and Statistics Centre (CNIS 2015), the oil and gas revenues are currently insufficient to guarantee the import of essential commodities and technical services. With regard to the actual economic situation, the Algerian Government is supporting tourism development concretely using the already existing National Tourism Development Plan (SDAT 2008). In the haste, construction projects have been authorized without the necessary environmental impact assessment. The construction of host accommodations has been authorized to close to the shoreline in Algeria, although it is illegal (Littoral Law 022002). Moreover, the available wastewater treatment plants are insufficient for the programmed tourist infrastructures (Directorate of Water Resources, 2015). For these reasons, the coastline urbanization founded exclusively on economic interests is prejudicial to the coastal environment. Moreover, the construction among coastal dunes increases beach erosion over the long term and leads to the loss of tourism attraction (Phillips & Jones 2006). According to Blancas et al. (2011), the development of increasing tourist activity should be reconciled with the protection of natural and cultural resources that support such activity. Nowadays, coastal development should be responsible and sustainable to protect a decent economic policy. In this respect, the paper focuses on the Eastern coast of Mostaganem, as an example, which could be economically developed without any shore urbanization. The rural municipalities of this area provide extensive natural beaches, cultural heritage, agriculture, and fishing activities. These are excellent predispositions for the development of sustainable tourism within these municipalities.

2. Study area and actual tourism situation

The study is based on data collected from the Ministry of Land-use Planning, Tourism, and Handicraft (2015), the National Informatics and Statistics Centre (CNIS 2015), and the National scheme of Land-use Planning for 2015-2025 (SDAT 2008). Technical data related to the beaches and the rural municipalities they belong to, have been obtained from the Directorate of Environment (2015), and the Directorate of Water Resources (2015). The coastline length and the distance beach-rural municipality have been determined using Google Earth Pro (version 7.1.5.1557). The Province of Mostaganem (124 km coastline) is situated in the West of Algeria. The Oued Cheliff River separates this Province in a Western and an Eastern part (Fig. 1). The main tourism activity is established in Sablettes, a tourist site of the Western coast, which is heavily built-up; the majority of its host structures is built among the dunes (Fig. 2). Nevertheless, constructions are programmed regardless of the Littoral Law 02/2002, which protects the beaches, the fore dunes, and the backshore. …

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