There is growing confidence among tourism professionals that the storm has passed.
“The biggest tour operators are back,” says Mohamed Ali Toumi, president of the Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies. “All the hotels located on the seafront are full this summer.”
Alternative tour operator Autre Tunisie is seeing greater demand. “We have experienced a slight recovery in activity since the fourth quarter of 2016,” says manager Hubert Henaff. “This return has been confirmed since the beginning of the year and is accelerating during this summer period.”
Optimism is borne out by statistics. The latest figures from the National Office of Tunisian Tourism (ONTT) show 3.6 million visitors to July 31 this year, a 27% increase year-on-year. Visitors from Europe increased by 15% over the same period.
Tunisia Hotel Display Noticeable Security Improvements
[Security Insight: Since the Sousse Attacks Tunisian Security Forces have done a tremendous job. Tunisia will continue to be tested with the upcoming elections in December and the ongoing social-economic challenges. Additionally, history has taught us that the terrorist groups that operate in Tunisia are patient & strategic.]
Courting the Brits
Even with all these improvements Tunisia is still missing their loyal European customers. This may begin to change after the British government’s withdrawal an advisory against travel to Tunisia, following France and Germany, which had already relaxed restrictions. Britain was one of Tunisia’s most valuable markets before the 2015 attacks, and operators are keen to rebuild ties.
“We would like to go back as soon as possible,” says Can Deniz, managing director of Just Sunshine, a travel agent specializing in UK-Tunisia travel. “We are in talks to provide a daily service to Tunis from London so that we can sell packages as early as next week. There is strong demand from the public.”