Holiday vouchers are coming to Benin

Benin is one of the most attractive countries in West Africa and has many advantages:
  • a rich and varied culture linked to the different ethnic groups present on the territory,
  • Voodoo arts and civilization
  • the remains and memory of the slave trade in Ouidah
  • The Royal Palaces of Abomey and their archaeological sites dating back several millennia
  • the largest wildlife parks in West Africa (Pendjari and W Regional Park)
  • the largest lake city in Africa (Ganvié)
  • the seaside and lagoon cities

Although the country also has a stable political situation and good sanitary conditions, it is a destination that is still unknown to international travellers.

In recent years there has been a relative stagnation in the number of visits to tourist sites, both in terms of tourism in general (250 000 visitors in 2015) and for eco-friendly tourism.

On the other hand, internally, the potential reservoir of Beninese travellers is huge because the concentration of population in the big cities has slowly removed the average Beninese from his own culture and the realities of the rural environment. The main challenge lies in encouraging this average Beninese, established in the cities to rediscover his country. But although a middle class seems to emerge, the majority of its members still enjoy a purchasing power too low to go on vacation without encouragement.

It is in this context that the Beninese NGO, Eco-Bénin, in collaboration with the Belgian association Altervoyages, obtained from Wallonie Bruxelles International (WBI), a funding of 10 000 euros to work on the implementation of holiday vouchers.
It is a question here of creating an incentive mechanism in order to make citizens travel and more particularly the middle class (employees and civil servants).

Eco-Benin considers two types of mechanisms:

Incentive mechanism: In this case, tourist products fully financed by the employer will be provided to employees and officials. These products are sold in the form of vouchers (lunches, holidays, parties) to employers who give them to their employees to reward them for their work.

A "vouchers for all" mechanism: Vouchers are jointly funded by the employee, the employer and other donors (the State or the private sector). Holiday vouchers are made available to employees and they pay a participation. This mechanism is based on a survey that aims to establish the budget constraint of the various parties (employers, employees and third parties).

To develop the initiative, Eco-Benin will create a "voucher for all" department whose mission is to find a donor (or funders) to finance the difference between the costs of the products and the price the parties are ready to pay.
The tourist product sold to the employer in the form of a voucher, will be financed 50% by the employer, 40% by the employee, and 10% by a third party. To this end, the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector will be solicited.


A Win-Win mechanism:

The strength of the project is that all stakeholders are winners. Here are the different reasons according to the categories of actors.

Employer:

  • Purchases and donations of vouchers to employees fall under the category "donations and gifts" of the General Tax Code and are deductible from the Corporate Tax (deduction capped at 0.1% of cashable products). This reward given to employees should enhance their productivity, their well-being at work and the quality of it. In addition, this approach is part of the development of the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) approach and enables companies to distinguish themselves in a competitive market and to attract more competent workers to them.

Employees :
  • Access to low-cost tourism products or donations, which they would not access without this mechanism
  • Secondary need satisfaction: improving self-esteem and well-being at work
  • Personal enrichment through the discovery or rediscovery of its culture and traditions.
The tourist promoter:
  • Increased attendance at their establishment.
  • Virtuous circle that allows the development of new projects for the future and new investments.
Local communities:
  • Direct beneficiaries of the economic benefits through the purchase of local products, meals, accommodation ....
  • Indirect beneficiaries: part of the activities proposed by the stays will concern their issues: awareness of environmental protection, awareness of sustainable economic development.
The state, or the National Community:
  • Is part of the GAP (Governmental Action Program) 2021 concerning the development of tourism infrastructures.
  • Encouraging sustainable local economic growth.

In addition to a social and human dimension aimed at making people travel who would not do so without this mechanism, this project aims to offer affordable services of quality, accessible to all and for the underlying purpose, awareness of the preservation of the environment.