We drove several hours from Abidjan to a coastal area that a while ago had been a thriving resort. Iwas told that before the start of the rebellion, frequent charters from Italy used to bring hundreds of tourists here. Now, of course, there are no tourists. One passes empty resort after empty resort. A few people come out from Abidjan to spend the weekends here, but certainly noit enough to sustain many of these accommodations.
How long it will take for the tourist business to regenerate is anybody's guess. In a recent phone conversation I asked a friend how the tourist business was shaping up and he replied,. "The last one departed this past November for California." He was referring to me.
The U.S. and British embassies still issue these dire warnings about how unstable the country is, and tell travelers not to visit Cote d'Ivoire unless it is absolutely necessary. In large measure, these embassies are responsible for the present hibernation of Cote d'Ivoire's tourist industry.
This is a shame. The country has warm friendly people, fascinating cultures, fine French food, and lots of things to see -- wildlife preserves, the largest Catholic cathedral in the world, a cocoa industry, a growing rubber industry. I'm on my way back this there this October.