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A roadmap for recovery in Tunisia


BEI

Once regarded as the jewel of the national economy, tourism in Tunisia has suffered enormously.




In 2010, a baseline year for tourism, Tunisia welcomed 5,472,369 tourists, 3,145,285 of whom came from Europe. In 2012, there will only have been 2,500,000 (down 20.5 %), 774,000 of whom will have come from France, about a third of the number in 2010. 
 

Even the Minister of Tourism, Elyes Fakhfakh, thinks that the 2012-2013 season will be "even more difficult". At "Top Resa", the international tourism trade show, which took place from 18 to 20 September 2012, the Tunisian stand saw very few tour operators. The general feeling of insecurity in the country reached new heights on 14 September 2012 with the attack on the American embassy. 
 

In the immediate future, the issue is for the provisional authorities to restore security throughout the country, especially in the tourist areas. Domestic and foreign investors also need reassuring with a new Constitution and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections to take the country out of the transitional period, which is dragging on.


Airport tax

Tunisia in search of lost tourists (photo F. Dubessy)
Tunisia in search of lost tourists (photo F. Dubessy)
In the meantime, the state authorities are attempting to limit the damage with promotional campaigns targeting southern Tunisia. Large-scale campaigns supported by the airlines are scheduled to run in European countries this winter. To fund these initiatives, a new airport tax to be paid by passengers will boost the Competitiveness Development Fund (FODEC) for the sector from the beginning of 2013.

It will also fund a management unit within the Ministry of Tourism with various objectives (product diversification and quality, promotion, debt and investment aid, web compatibility, air connection and open sky, decentralization, public-private partnerships). 
 
The Tunisian government hopes that this will attract a million additional tourists a year, to reach 6.8 million tourists in 2013 and 10 million in 2016, with associated revenues of 10 billion euros.


Nadia Chahed, TUNIS


Monday, November 26th 2012



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