With the political uprisings that shook the Magreb area earlier this year, tourists have turned their backs on Tunisia. Now, the country is trying to reassure travellers that everything is A-OK and that they can come back anytime (the sooner the better). The question remains, is Tunisia safe?
We’ve all watched the so-called “Arab Spring” with mix feelings, the thrill of revolution, the concern for the people, the enthusiasm for change. But concern has clearly taken precedence in Europe with the emergence of new political powers. In Tunisia it’s the “moderate Islamists” of the Ennahdha party that won the recent elections. The result: a huge decline in tourism, causing a huge economic decline across the whole country.
Hamadi Jebali, the general secretary of the Ennahdha party and future prime minister of Tunisia, and his Tourism Minister launched a huge campaign to win tourists back. They even went so far as to invite Will and Kate to visit, possibly even Elton John during the recent World Travel Market in London. They’re really pulling out the big guns in an effort to convince the world that Tunisia is safe for foreign tourists.
There was the chance of tourists being lured by the idea of new democracies in the Arab world, especially Tunisia. Now, with Islamists coming to power, will Tunisia stop being the same bikini, sun-loving and beachy holiday destination it used to be?
Where to go and where not
The security situation is getting better in Tunisia but there are still places foreigners are best to avoid. To put it simply: the coast is good, central Tunisia is not. There are no longer any travel warnings against Tunisia’s gorgeous coast from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, thank goodness!
The Foreign Office notes that caution should be taken when travelling into the interior of Tunisia, with the exception of tourist areas like Tozeur and Kebili. If you’re planning a holiday in Tunisia, it’s best to arrive by plane. If you plan to arrive via road, be sure to only travel by day.
Tourists are advised to carry their passports and copies of identification at all times while in Tunisia.It is strongly recommended to avoid regions of Tunisia like Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid. Travelling through the deep south of Tunisia (military zone) is strictly prohibited.
Have you cancelled a trip to Tunisia this year because of the Jasmine Revolution? Do you plan to spend your holidays in Tunisia in the coming months? Also, could Libya be the new jewel of Africa?
Imgs: sky#walker, isawnyc / Flickr cc.