Faced with the new coronavirus pandemic, the French embassy in Tunis is setting up a crisis unit to ensure the repatriation of stranded French tourists.
Many tourists are stranded in the country following the closure of air, land and sea borders to curb the spread of the disease which has claimed thousands of lives globally.
Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, the French ambassador to Tunisia told the press: “We’ve got 30 flights on Monday, Tuesday. That’s about 15 repatriation flights a day.
“These are not regular flights and we still have one regular flight that we’ve been able to maintain, but that’s about 16 flights (per day), so you multiply by 200 per flight, that’s about 3,200 people per day that we can take out.”
Meanwhile many Tunisian hoteliers fear the new coronavirus crisis could collapse their business, already tested by several years of stagnation after a series of deadly terror attacks.
Mehdi Allani , general manager of Sultan hotel said: “With all the other crises, hotels still had certain financial reserves to deal with them. But this is not the case at all, we have not yet assimilated the collapse of Thomas Cook.
“We have just been through six winter months, months when we operate at a loss. And then, the other difference with all the other crises is that this one also has a huge impact on the local market.”
Tunisia’s tourism sector is a key source of employment and foreign exchange earner.