The tourists, would they have found the way of Tunisia? Néjib Guermazi, president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle du tourisme tunisien, seems optimistic. “Hotels are booked to nearly 80%. This is a first since the fall of Ben Ali and the terrorist attacks of Sousse and the Bardo.”
In the beginning of January to the end of may 2017, nearly 2 million tourists visited the tunisian soil. A figure that represents an increase of 37% compared to the year 2016, according to a balance sheet presentation at the Council of ministers on 19 may in Tunis. A new, rather positive, while the real tourist season starts towards the end of the month of June.
How to explain such an increase? “The customer base is renewed, meets the president of the federation. We receive fewer Europeans, but a lot more Russians and Algerians.” Indeed, tensions between Ankara and Moscow in recent years have contributed significantly to revive tunisian tourism. The Russians have deserted the Turkey, then the first destination of vacationers.
The Helvetians not scared
The Swiss also seem to be conquered. Departures from the Confederation experienced a real boom this year. “Between April 2016 and 2017, Tunisair recorded a rise of 37% in bookings,” said Hichem Grader, general representative of the airline.
Strangers will feel more safe? The security policy of the country is strengthened. Many of the hotels are equipped with the same devices that control the airports. Néjib Guermazi wants to be reassuring. “The police is widely present in the streets and on the beaches, and the roads are monitored. When we get back in a car park or in a hotel, the cars are routinely searched.”
The measures put in place since the attacks do not seem to scare Marion, a Swiss 26-year-old accustomed to in Tunisia. “It is true that last year in Sousse, I saw a lot of police in the vicinity of the hotels and on the beaches, evidenced by the young woman. But terrorism is not an element that has influenced my relationship to this country. I’m not more scared here than elsewhere.”
The issue is more than important. In Tunisia, tourism provides a living for more than 15% of the population and constitutes one of the main foreign exchange earnings. More than 480 000 jobs depend on the sector, according to the world Bank. The areas of transport or of the craft that can hardly survive without visitors. The recent decline had precipitated the economic crisis, the tourism is essential to the growth of tunisia.
To make the country more attractive
Before the jasmine revolution, the country welcomed more than 7 million foreign tourists. Five years later, in 2015, it welcomed more than 5 million, a drop of 2 million in the number of holidaymakers, according to the tunisian Ministry of tourism. If the new customer reassures them, it is not enough to compensate for the loss of these last few years. The spectrum of attacks of Sousse and of the Bardo Museum, in 2015, as well as political instability have contributed massively to the departure of european tourists.
How to make the country more attractive? According to Néjib Guemarzi, it is necessary to renew the tourism offer, considered poor. In particular, focusing more on the heritage, the gastronomy and the rich history, to the example of Morocco. “The Southern regions, filled with wealth, are very poorly exploited, regrets that the president of the federation. Tunisia has focused on mass tourism. It is necessary that the sector climbs in the range. And, unfortunately, this is not the number one priority of the government.”
Created: 30.07.2017, 19: 25 pm