HomeFeatured NewsFTAV CEO: Parallel markets weigh on travel agencies

FTAV CEO: Parallel markets weigh on travel agencies

President of the Tunisian Federation of Travel and Tourism Agencies, Ahmed Bettaieb, announced in an interview with Africanmanager that the 2024 tourist season will be promising.

He also spoke of the need to launch a series of urgent measures to revitalize the sector and reviewed the various problems facing travel agency professionals.


Are the tourism indicators in the green?

Yes, they certainly are. In fact, since the beginning of the new year, we have seen the first signs of recovery in the tourism sector, with an increase in bookings in various Tunisian hotels.

Tunisia’s tourism sector has just turned a corner. It has recorded a clear recovery with 8.8 million visitors in 2023, an increase of 49.3% in one year, and is on track to beat the record set in 2019.

What are the reasons for this encouraging recovery?

These results can be explained by the efforts made by the various parties involved, in particular the FTAV. And I should point out that diversifying the tourism product, guaranteeing the quality of services, developing an intelligent marketing strategy based on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and promoting tourism at international level are the main guidelines on which any action to promote the tourism sector should be based in the next period.

Do you have any data on the nationalities of the tourists expected this season?

There are several tourists of different nationalities (from neighboring countries and Europe) who will be queuing up to come to Tunisia.

Tunisia is making a strong comeback thanks to its proximity, its warm welcome and its prices, which are still very affordable for tourists who want to enjoy the sun and white sandy beaches.

On the other hand, these positive indicators should not overshadow the challenges and problems currently facing travel agencies and the tourism sector.

You mentioned an increase in hotel prices.  What does that mean?

Yes, an increase in hotel rates is expected in Tunisia. This increase is dictated by the high inflation rate and the rising prices of all materials without exception.

How can the tourism sector be revitalized?

As I said, the 2024 tourist season will be a good one, but it’s important to put in place a strategy and an action plan to promote domestic tourism, which is the cornerstone of the tourism sector in Tunisia.  We also need to prepare for the recovery effect to avoid a boomerang effect.

What are the problems faced by professionals in the sector?

Professionals in the sector have been suffering for years from illegal competition from unlicensed agents, a kind of parallel travel market where fraud is rife. They have despaired of the authorities and are organizing themselves to defend their trade and their livelihoods.

What right do these agencies have to operate? They have what is known as a “service company” license, and under no circumstances are they authorized to sell or deal in travel of any kind.

Are the authorities aware of these practices?

Yes, of course they are. We’ve brought this to their attention on numerous occasions, but unfortunately to no avail!

It should be noted that the “parallel” circuit is well-oiled, with agents of these companies present throughout the country, advertising cheaper prices and offering glittering services that they often don’t honor. I would like to remind you that we have made a number of proposals to them to combat this phenomenon. In other words, the ball is in the court of the authorities and, above all, the consumers.

It’s up to them not to be ripped off.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -