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Tunis looks to regain its 900,000 cruise passengers


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Tunisia hopes to attract as many cruise passengers in 2013 as in 2012 and eventually to regain the 900,000 passengers that visited the destination in 2010. Recent activity has been promising, but is still suffering from uncertainty over national security.



Despite the crisis and the hesitant recovery of 2012, Mustapha Jabeur, CEO of the Tunisian terminal, is optimistic (photo GSC)
Despite the crisis and the hesitant recovery of 2012, Mustapha Jabeur, CEO of the Tunisian terminal, is optimistic (photo GSC)
Representing 7% of GDP, tourism remains one of the sectors most affected by the political and socio-economic crisis that has plagued Tunisia since the revolution on 14 January 2011. A nascent niche activity, cruises have not been spared.

In 2012, La Goulette terminal, located just to the north of Tunis in the inner suburbs, only received 582,000 cruise passengers with 227 stopovers. This is an increase compared to the previous year (313,000 passengers and 135 stopovers). However, these figures are still far from those for 2010, considered a benchmark year, when 896,000 cruise passengers visited over the course of 406 stopovers.

Despite the crisis and the hesitant recovery of 2012, Mustapha Jabeur, CEO of the Tunisian terminal, is optimistic. He expects activity in 2013 to be similar to that in 2012. "However, for 2014, we expect a significant increase. Our forecasts are based on reservations made by cruise line companies, notably those who have virtually suspended their activity in Tunisia for the past two years" he explains. However, some pre-reservations have been postponed, as their confirmation or cancellation remains dependent on the evolution of the country's security situation.

Investment in communication

All the infrastructure work was finished before the revolution (photo F.Dubessy)
All the infrastructure work was finished before the revolution (photo F.Dubessy)
Tunis has only developed its cruise activity very recently. "La Goulette Shipping Cruise" (GSC) was created in 2007. The construction of this terminal, which consists of two berths of 657 m with a draft of 10 m, was finalized in 2010 and operations only began in June 2010. Prior to this date, La Goulette's port authorities managed cruises in the same way as the other activities.
"This decision to use an independent operator has enabled, according to Mustapha Jabeur, the site's facilities to be improved and made more attractive, with a better quality of services being offered, which, as a result, have become more targeted and suited to this category of passengers." In addition to the two new berths, GSC has two other berths granted by the Office of the Merchant Navy and Ports (OMMP) giving it the capacity to accommodate four or five ships.

"All the infrastructure work was finished before the revolution; since then there has not been any further investment. Our main priority is to develop the internal logistics and communication, and to improve partnerships with the other organizations that will help to improve the sector's profitability, such as the National Office of Tourism and Thermal Treatments (ONTT), the Tunisian Federation of travel agents (FTAV), the Ministry of Culture etc... " comments CSG's CEO.

At the international level, efforts are focused on improving the destination's image and strengthening communication, in particular through a greater presence at specialized international events for the industry. "GSC is now a member of the Med Cruise Association, which provides access to information and enables better positioning in relation to other operators in the Mediterranean."


Complete file


Nadia Chahed, TUNIS


Wednesday, March 27th 2013



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