ABOUT Tourism has grown to be an important part of the Senegales economy. Since the 1990s, Senegal has made an effort to reach beyond visitors from the former colonial power France, in part motivated by the example of neighbouring Gambia which draws a relatively larger tourist share from Northern Europe and the Americas to its Banjul coastal resorts. Almost a million people went to Senegal last year and the President, Abdoulaye Wade, predicted that that figure would rise to 1.5m by 2010. Visitors are drawn by tropical beaches and Unesco World Heritage sites such as the Ile de Goree - from where more than 15m slaves were shipped across the Atlantic - the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary and the splendour of the former colonial capital, Saint-Louis. Known for its mild climate, attractive beaches and great fishing, Senegal has long been highly regarded by European tourists, mostly French and Belgian. U.S. tourists - often African-Americans - are increasing in numbers, drawn in particular by the historic slave trading post of Goree Island. Women — often white, European and "of a certain age" — flock solo to Senegal's shores year-round for what one hotel manager called "the three 'S's: sun, sea and sex." The growth of Senegal's female sex tourism has its roots in poverty and the lack of jobs for the country's young men. Senegal's unemployment for youths is estimated at 30 percent, according to the International Labor Organization, and the average person in Senegal earns about $3 a day, according to the World Bank.

CLIMATE Senegal’s climate is pleasantly tropical with year round average temperatures between 26° and 30° C, uninterrupted sunshine from November to May and a short rainy season between the months of June and October, when sudden but spectacular rainstorms can punctuate the hot sun.

BEWARE There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should take particular care in remote areas of Senegal near the border areas with Mauritania and Mali, to the east of the city of Podor until Kidira. You should also be aware that there is a threat of kidnapping in the wider region and particular care should be taken in remote regions and border areas. Pick pocketing and street crime (including in taxis), occasionally involving violence, are common in parts of Dakar, particularly around Place de l'Independence, the central area of the Plateau, the Western Corniche, and the airport. You should take sensible precautions, avoid walking alone in the late afternoon and after dark and avoid carrying valuables in public.

Land mines also remain a problem in Casamance and de-mining operations are continuing. Non-governmental organisations operating in Casamance have recorded several hundred deaths from land mines since 1990, most of which have been of civilians, including a foreign national who was killed when her vehicle hit a newly placed mine on an unpaved road. You should take local advice and stick to paved roads. You should exercise caution if travelling in areas of Senegal near the border with the Republic of Guinea as there remains an increased military presence.