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Tunisia seeks to revive ailing tourism sector

Tunisia seeks to revive ailing tourism sector

Tunisia

In a bid to attract tourists once again, Tunisian authorities have stepped up security at major tourism sites and hotels.

The country’s tourism sector accounts for 7 per cent of the GDP, provides thousands of jobs and is a top foreign exchange earner.

However, the sector has been reeling from two terror attacks of last year that targeted westerners.

We spend a lot more on security. And we are trying to demonstrate and enhance the safety measures

Now, police presence in beaches and reinforced security is the daily norm for the North African country.

Mohamed Boujdaria, regional commissioner for tourism says, “In preparation of the tourist season, we concentrated on 3 or 4 points, the most important of which is the security situation. The inspection visits are quasi-daily for all tourist facilities, restaurants, historical sites, the hotel units as well as the monitoring of the respect of the common circular of the Ministry of Tourism and the interior.”

Before its 2011 revolution, Tunisia attracted almost seven million visitors a year. Last year, tourist arrivals fell to 5.5 million, the lowest in decades.

“Formerly, it was selling the sun, we sold the beaches. Now, one sells the sun, beaches and the security. The security, now becomes a sales argument. We spend a lot more on security. And we are trying to demonstrate and enhance the safety measures that are either of the State or of institutions,” said Anis Souissi, Manager at Royal Resort Hotel.

The government is rallying on European leaders to support Tunisia by lifting travel advisories to the North African state. Tunisia believes making security is a priority because without security there can be no recovery in the tourism sector.

AFP