Revenue from tourism was up almost 20% this year, as confidence returns to Tunisia after the 2015 terrorist attacks.
This is important: the sector makes up almost 10% of GDP.
Return of the British
Governments (including the UK’s) diluted their precautionary advice on the country.
This triggered travel operators like UK based Thomas Cook to resume package deals to the country. This is important because most of the terrorism victims were British and Brits constitute one of the bigger visitor nationalities.
There was also an almost 15% increase from Europeans. Also, Algerians and Russians are now seeing Tunisia as a holiday destination.
Government reforms have driven this growth: extra security, relaxation of tourism taxes and an easing of visa requirements have helped attract visitors.
Tunisia might need to do more because it suffered 2 attacks in quick succession. Lowering prices and advertising new experiences could be the answer.
But visitor numbers were already declining, even before the attacks.
Maybe Morocco holds the answer: restructuring the national airline, hosting a big music festival and the use of cultural attractions has made tourism a growing industry for the country. This advice is particularly pertinent because most Tunisian heritage sites are still lacking visitors.
What’s more, Tunisia’s security situation is still fragile: governments advise their citizens to avoid large swathes of the nation.
And the Irish?
Tunisia is “too raw” for many in Ireland and there’s little confidence that appetite will increase soon.