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Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa

A destination which deserves to be one of the first worldwide
(which inherently already is)

Originally an international tax lawyer, I was, by the end of 1981, in charge of the international tax department of the first French exporting Group. Hence I got to Cote d'Ivoire where two subsidiaries were located. That was my second visit to Africa.

I found lush vegetation, evengreens and lively markets I had learned to like and enjoy in Cameroon, kindness and smile on top of it. In spite of numerous trips within four continents and about sixty countries, the most often pleasant, I continually discovered and rediscovered Cote d'Ivoire with renewed pleasure and joy. In other words, Cote d'Ivoire would not stop charming me. Each stay made me want to come back.

By the end of 1 988 love made me settle in Cote d'Ivoire. For the following four years, I lived and worked in Abidjan and devoted the largest part of my vacations and time off to bettering my knowledge of Cote d'Ivoire, its numerous peoples, regions, cultures and traditions, pieces of art craft and landscapes.

A few years later, travel, tourism and hospitality business that I had until then known as a learned customer had to become my destiny.

I had the fondest memories of spectacular landscapes, breathtaking views; pristine beaches, multiples shades of green, indefinite lushness, singular birds, weird and wonderful fishes,peculiar monkeys and other rare animals; authentic villages and people, beautiful sunsets, delightful hurricane lamp lit dinners,

white sand and long lines of coconut and palm trees, impressive mangrove swamps and bamboo forests; harmony and tolerance, and most importantly the infallible courtesy and dedicated care of the inhabitants. So many moments of genuine happiness were there, were still alive. I also remembered that hotels were few. Consequently Cote d'Ivoire was at the top range of the places where tourism investment could have a high and quick return.

Eighteen months later, market research, field work, journeys, scientific reports, all reinforced my conviction: I would select Cote d'Ivoire as a privileged venue for investing in beach and leisure tourism and hospitality business in spite of the attractiveness of neighboring countries. Infrastructure, training, human relationships, virginity of the destination; so huge untamed potential had made the difference,

As well as:

• Europe being so close by;

• Lack of jet lag whose ominous effects are well known;

• Sunshine and heat when the winter rages in Europe;

• Warm sea (22/23 °C at the worse moments, most frequently 27/28°C in the southwest),

• Historical heritage and cultural diversity;

• Lush vegetation and rich untamed nature;

• Hospitality, gentleness and amicability;

• High quality handicraft and primary art;

• A myriad of possibilities: visiting reserve parks such as Taï National Park in the west or Comoe Park up north, immersing in world heritage, African culture and ways of life, relaxing on spotless beaches or by majestic rivers and wild fresh water streams; making jungle trips and hiking; riding a boat; discovering indigenous dance and ritual ceremonies or the modern Notre Dame de la Paix basilica ; surfing, fishing blue marlin or admiring starlit skies …

None of those have been lost. Better still the demand is evolving towards individual journeys, slow travel, eco-tourism, community-based and environment friendly tourism, cultural discovery, authenticity and personal care. Cote d'Ivoire ideally responds to all the current special interest market segments. It's more attractive than it has ever been.

The south west &endash; typically the Sassandra region - seems to have been created to tone with the needs of the city-dwellers, who feel stressed and anonymous numbers in a world without mercy, frustrated of the speed of an earth that turns too quickly and doesn't spare them any attention or care.

Lush vegetation that overflows with life for the very pleasure of visitors; small creeks permitting beautiful soft bathing , magnificent lagoons , smooth hills; authentic villages ; citrus fruit plantations; multiple flagrances and majestic rubber trees all contribute to dreaming and laziness, rest and wellness.

The peaceful historic city of Sassandra is blessed by gods : at the outlet of the Sassandra River between lagoon and Ocean, a microclimate (the most moderate of the 550 km of the Ivorian coastline), the wharf that seems to await travelers to step out of the skiffs after a long transatlantic journey; the former trade houses along the beach that edges the River; the lively fishing port and the multicolored traditional dugouts canoes; scenic views from the hills that dominate the town; the residence of the circle commander (known as "House of the Governor"); a few kilometers further north, the Weygand Bridge, the first concrete bridge in the west Africa region… and more generally; the vestiges of a more active past that invites dream and romance.

Best of Afroca
Beatrice Grandcolas & Ollivier Vangasse
Tel : 225-34 72 06 06m Dagbego - Cúte d'Ivoire

web site:: http://www.bestofafrica.org