Tunisia to invite Prince William and Kate
Mr Mehdi Houas, the Tunisian minister of commerce and tourism, revealed today at the Tunisia press conference at World Travel Market that as a result of the Arab Spring, Tunisia has (somewhat unsurprisingly) seen a decrease in tourists.
Seven million tourists visited Tunisia in 2010. By contrast only three and half million have visited the country so far, this year. It’s nothing short of a disaster for Tunisia, given that tourism is a major source of income for Tunisia, accounting for 6.5 per cent of its gross domestic product. Houas said that it employs one in five Tunisians, directly and indirectly.
Houas used the conference to urge risky shy tourists to return next year, pointing out that Tunisia is nowhere near as dangerous a destination as somewhere such as South Africa. He emphasised that there wasn’t even a crisis – it was a revolution and one that went smoothly when compared to the conflicts that subsequently erupted in the likes of Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Clearly keen to stress that, contrary to public opinion, Tunisia is safe, Mr Houas announced that he will invite the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit. For while the country has long been known for its sea, sand and sun, Tunisia is now looking to offer
more than merely beach holiday packages: expect to see eco tours and an emphasis on Tunisia’s 3,000 years of history and heritage on the 2012 holiday agenda
Nonetheless, we can’t help but think that despite Tunisia’s many temptations (guaranteed sunshine, less than a three hour flight away being one of the main draws), Houas and his colleagues have their work cut out. The Foreign Office no longer advises
avoiding all but essential travel to Tunisia but it’s hardly advocating travel either, warning tourists of the threats of terrorism, kidnapping, I could go on… and on…. and on….
Is this information useful? Yes. However it’s also over cautious. The advisories have to, for want of a better word, protect their asses! We’re not saying to ignore alerts but don’t let them deter you from travelling to Tunisia and other ‘badlands’ either. There is and will always be anelement of danger involved in travel - whether you’re crossing continents or, as in the case of the M5 car crash that killed seven and injured 51, making your way up the motorway on home soil.