Tunisia: stability through tourism

At the end of April the German government published the core elements of its tourism strategy. One of its three key objectives is for tourism to contribute to international stability. Tourism is a growth sector which makes an important contribution to economic and social stability in developing countries – particularly in Tunisia.

The unemployment rate in Tunisia is exceptionally high at 15 percent. Although the country’s economy is growing, that growth only amounted to a modest 2 percent in the challenging year of 2018. Tourism is all the more important in an economy that is beginning to recover. Visitor figures are back up to over eight million again for the first time since the revolution of 2010/11. Last year alone revenue from tourism rose by 50 percent. Economic figures underline how important this development is for Tunisia. Tourism accounts for 16 percent of Tunisia’s gross domestic product and 15 percent of the country’s employment.

Tourism is a strategic sector

The Tunisian government was quick to recognise the strategic significance of tourism and, at the beginning of this decade, it developed the ‘Vision 3+1’ strategy for the development of the tourism sector. It aims to create more tourism products in regions away from the Mediterranean coastline, improve the quality of tourism and expand the marketing operation. This will increase value added per guest and contribute to sustainable growth. Tunisia has benefitted from the advice and expertise of major tour operators in this process.

The TUI Group is one of Tunisia’s international partners and the travel company has been strongly committed to Tunisia for many years now. Even during the difficult years, TUI continued to make investments, retained its hotel complexes and continued to develop them. 

TUI currently operates 16 hotels in Tunisia and up to 38 weekly flights there. This year TUI is expecting to bring 300000 holidaymakers to Tunisia, which is over 30 percent more guests than in 2018. The company also has ambitious plans for the future. The TUI Magic Life Skanes Club near Monastir and the TUI Sensimar Ulysse Palace on Djerba will further expand TUI’s presence in Tunisia from summer 2019 onwards.

René Trabelsi (left), Tunisia’s Minister for Tourism and the only Jewish government minister in the Arab world, talked to Fritz Joussen, TUI Group CEO, about a closer partnership at the Berlin Corporate office in March 2019.

Boosting the tourism industry

In addition to specific investment plans, the TUI Group is working with the German Travel Association (DRV), its Tunisian counterpart FTAV and other partners to boost tourism in Tunisia and make the industry more resilient to potential crises. Support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) underlines the German government’s tourism policy ambitions and it is contributing to greater stability in North Africa.

Tourism’s significance is omnipresent

»Tourism is like no other industry. It’s all about culture, encounters and tolerance. This intercultural exchange and reciprocal learning are exceptionally important to my fellow countrymen. Tourism is naturally also important to the economy, and as a source of jobs and careers – not just in the hotels and restaurants, but also in agriculture and traditional craft industries. This value chain plays an important role in Tunisia. As a child I noticed in my hometown of Kairouan that the carpet makers were able to live in modest prosperity through selling their wares to tourists.

My country has enjoyed a close partnership over the decades with TUI. The group stood by Tunisia in the difficult years and gave us hope. But, above all, TUI brings many thousands of tourists to Tunisia every year, providing us with access to key European markets.«

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