The government has promoted both domestic and international tourism since 1984. The "W" National Park along the Niger River offers views of a variety of fauna, including lions and elephants. Other tourist attractions include Agadez's 16th-century mosque, one of the oldest in West Africa; villages built on piles in Lake Chad; the annual six-week gathering of nomads near Ingal; the Great Market and Great Mosque in Niamey, and the Sahara desert. Nigeriens engage in fishing, swimming, and a variety of team sports. Visas are required for most travelers, as is a vaccination certificate for yellow fever and cholera.
Tourism had suffered a steady decline throughout the early 1990s but has rebounded somewhat in recent years. There were 50,263 tourist arrivals in 2000, an increase of 17% from 1999 figures. Tourist receipts were estimated at $28 million in 2000. In 1999, reports indicated that there were 1,233 hotel rooms with 2,336 beds and a 39% occupancy rate.
In 2002, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Niamey at about $128 per day. The costs of traveling outside the capital are significantly lower.