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Old 24 Jan 2010
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Gloomy analysis from Le Pointe chief

Someone just sent me this link (thanks). In case you don't know, Le Pointe Afrique have been the 'Easyjet' of the Sahara for many years - serving desert airports no one else would bother with and so enabling local fly-in tourism that may not otherwise have flourished. I've used them myself and although they've vexed some customers and agents with slow comms or by dumping flights last minute as well as undercutting local tour ops with their own cheap tours, there is a philanthropic element to the operation.

Maurice Freund's translated letter is here - notably he does not mention Algeria (where they also fly).

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Old 24 Jan 2010
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With regards Agadez, he seems to be saying he wasnt convinced with regards improved security, but that after meeting local people he has decided to return. Great news, hopefuly there wont be problems for those that decide to go.

Do you think he has not mentioned Algeria at all because he doesnt regard the country to have the same problems with security that Mali/Mauritania/Niger has experienced?
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Old 24 Jan 2010
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As far as recent tourist kidnappings are concerned then yes (AFAIU).
The major security problems in Algeria are not where foreign tourists go though I read on Magharebia that "...Algeria will deploy 29 new gendarme brigades to the Kabylie region..." so they may be dealing with that. (Kabylie has long been a problem region in Alg, long before GSPC, etc).

Of course Mk, Tuni and Libya are fine to visit too, but Le Pointe don't fly there - that's why I singled out Alg.

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Old 23 Sep 2010
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Point Afrique terminates its service to 5 of 6 destinations
interview with owner Maurice Freund
Niger : "C'est une entrée en guerre qui se dessine" | Rue89
There is a general change of atmosphere, with fractions of young Tuareg, 20-25 years, who join AQIM (al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb). They will run the drug routes. The Tuareg system, respect for the tribe and the father disappears gradually. There were already young attacks against their fathers, on onion convoys for example. But here, we turned a corner.
They themselves are totally surprised by the evolution of this phenomenon. This gangrene moved slowly. It is now a reality.
Today, I find that groups of AQIM have between 500 and 1000 people.
The leaders of the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) have received premiums of Qaddafi, large sums that have not been redistributed. You see them driving big new 4x4.
Among young people, this creates enormous frustration and envy. Hostage-taking became a real business, with no more economical alternative.
In this context, Point Africa is entering a phase where we risk becoming a provider of hostage taking. That's why I decided to quit five destinations.

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Old 30 Nov 2010
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Follow-up: Freund promoting Atar and Mopti. And Chad?

La lettre de Point-Afrique - N� 40 - Novembre 2010

Interestingly, he describes also south Algeria as too dangerous now (kidnappings?).

Adrar he describes as the safest region in the Sahara. It is protected by dunes and there are five passes where there is now strict vigilance and so he thinks it is totally safe. 2007 he took 12000 tourists to Atar, imagine what this meant to the region. Now he needs 2000 to break even.

Mali is a catastrophe tourist-wise after the latest scare, but he will bet everything he has to turn it around. Last year they had 2-400 per week, now down to 65 and the flight November 28 only 13 people...
But he is waiting and hopeful for things to turn around.
With the Malian president ATT he is planning round-table talks with local populations, with its own facebook page - look for "Forum Mopti"

Chad - here he is optimistic for coming tourism in Ennedi, planning to launch Paris-Faya in February 2011.
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