With its tropical climate and white sandy beaches, Ivory Coast was once a popular tourist destination in West Africa, particularly for French citizens. However, conflict and war over the last decade have drastically reduced the number of foreign visitors, with many countries issuing warnings on travel to Ivory Coast. Compared to its oil and agricultural sectors, tourism plays only a tiny part in the economy of Ivory Coast. However, given a peaceful and stable political climate, tourism and the service industries could grow again in importance.
Ivory Coast's tourism industry has developed significantly since the early 1970s. The country had 11,374 beds in 7,786 hotel rooms and a 70% occupancy rate in 1997. In 1998, there were 301,039 arriving tourists, including more than 73,000 from France. Beaches, tourist villages, and photo safaris through wildlife preserves are some of the main attractions.
Passports are needed for travel into Ivory Coast. Visas are not required for stays of less than 91 days, though a vaccination certificate for yellow fever is required from all foreign visitors. In 2002, the US Department of State estimated the average cost of staying in Abidjan at $160 per day, compared to Yamoussoukro at $98.