mardi 11 octobre 2011
Tourism in Tunisia : alarming figures
Not surprisingly, the tourism industry has been suffering since the historic Revolution that ousted the dictatorship and the demonstrations that continued a couple of weeks after, principally the Kasbah 1 and Kasbah 2. I don’t think your average traveler usually wants to visit a place where protesters and police often clash violently.
In fact, nothing is more predictable than a drop in tourism in such circumstances. However this can have major effects on a country, especially in Tunisia, where tourism represents roughly 7.5% of the GDP.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the sector represents 400 000 jobs that sustain two million Tunisians. That makes this a very serious problem since the total population is around 10.6 million. Read more details here and here.
That’s not all; the majority of tourists visiting the country are from Europe, which is going through serious economic problems, and also from Maghreb countries, which for many are having similar revolts.
So, for the first nine months of the year, the busiest time for Tunisia's tourism industry, there was a sharp drop in visitors compared to last year. Here’s the figures:
-France : 43,4%
-Germany : 46%
-U.K. : 37,1%
-Italy : 69 %
-Algeria : 41,6%
-Libya : 21,1%
Most parties have promised plans to try to reverse this trend. This is positive because many things need to be done, especially for the regions (Gafsa, Kairouan, Kef, Sidi Bou Zid, etc.) that have been neglected for the past 55 years by a variety of dictators while the biggest political efforts and investements were directed to the cities of the North (Tunis, Bizerte, Arzis, etc.). However, even if the strongest measures are put in place, Tunisia's tourism can only really get back to what it was when things get calmer. The election in two weeks will help in that aspect; especially if you compare with the recent situation of the neighboring countries. Just think of Egypt ...
Finally, I would like to note the presentation that the Minister of Finances, Jalloul Ayed, had in Sfax about the Jasmin Plan aimed at stimulating investment and creating jobs.