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Tunisia unveils new tourism plan
Tunisia unveils new tourism plan

REPORT – UNWTO GENERAL ASSEMBLY – COLOMBIA: “We are not interested in the number of tourist arrivals but how to increase our tourism revenues,” stressed Mr. Khelil Lajimi, Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism at a press conference that took place during the UNWTO’s General Assembly in Cartagena of Colombia. “Our 6.8 million arrivals that we expect until the end of 2007 is a great number for a county with a population of 10 million,” said the Minister.

The way for Tunisia to achieve this goal is according to Mr. Lajimi the turn of the Sun and Sea model to the alternative forms of tourism and added value tourism services. Summer tourism and especially the sun and sea model is responsible for the 80% – 90% of Tunisia’s tourism today. The Ministry aims to highlight the special forms of tourism in its new strategic plan in which Tunisia is particularly competitive. These are Sahara dessert tourism, thalassotherapy where Tunisia is second after France in the Mediterranean region as well as golf tourism where five new courses will be added in the country in the next five years. These are the forms that can diversify Tunisia’s product from the one of its competitors in Eastern Mediterranean such as Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Croatia according to the Minister.

Tunisia after the terrorist attacks of 2001 and 2002 lost a considerably large number of tourists from its traditional markets of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. The biggest loss for Tunisia’s tourism was the 500,000 German tourists. This loss gradually balanced from the new European markets and especially from Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

“We look for new customers in the same markets that we work with and particularly those of Europe,” added Mr. Lajimi giving the example of Spaniards with the 35% of them to visit the country for Sahara and the Swiss that are the best thalassotherapy customers. As far as the long – haul markets of Asia are concerned and especially China, Tunisia closely cooperates with Malta and Italy for the launch of common programs.

However, Tunisia lacks of low cost flights from Europe as the country has not an Open Skies policy yet. But Tunisia is negotiating the prospect of increasing these flights and talks with Ryanair, which showed interested for two flights.

Tunisia is open to foreign investments but mostly to infrastructure works that are related to Tunisia’s new tourism plan, according to Mr. Lajimi.

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