Mr. Klaus Brahimg, Chairman of the Tourism Commission at the Bundestag (German parliament), urged Government members and different industry professionals introduce a law to revive tourist activity. He also said that the success of the transition depends on the willingness of Tunisians to go ahead and take advantage of the Revolution.
What is the purpose of this visit?
This visit was planned since last year, but with the advent of the Revolution, it was postponed to a later date.
I am very pleased that the Tunisian Minister, Elyes Fakhfakh, has invited the federal parliament to think together on the way to re-conquest the German market which declined by 41% from 458,600 tourists in 2010 to 270,000 in 2011.
The key for us is to promote Tunisian tourism in a fairly competitive way.
But how can Germany support Tunisia to meet this challenge?
Germany has an excellent network. Added to this are efforts of the AHK Tunisia to try to reassure its partners and members.
In this context, I propose that the different stakeholders sit around a table to define all project plans that can boost the activity, on the one hand and develop an updated program on market needs through daily monitoring of this work, on the other one.
What are your proposals to officials to address this situation?
We have already met with the Tourism Minister and ONTT officials to find appropriate solutions together to develop this sector, knowing that these meetings will continue at the ITB Show which will be held in Germany next March
What is most essential now is to change tourists’ opinions about this site, stop thinking about Tunisia simply as a resort destination. To save this destination, go and take a look at this country by focusing on other tourist activities.
I think the idea is to highlight the natural, cultural and archaeological resources. So you have to activate a program of cultural and health tourism and tourism of activities for sportspeople, for example, marathons like those in Athens, Berlin and America. Why not a marathon of Carthage similar to the Berlin marathon, which started with 250 participants and has now 25,000.
If I were in the place of the Tunisian Minister, I would introduce a tourist law with all the concepts and structures as well as financial rules to safeguard the achievements and to assess the situation. In this critical climate and with an interim government in power, the sector needs continuity to deal with it.
Is there a real interest from the German authorities in terms of finance and exchange of experience to contribute to the revival of tourism in Tunisia?
Anyway, Germany is trying to support Tunisia. The presence today of the German parliament’s commission in Tunisia demonstrates this approach. In addition, several actions are underway. Indeed, German State Secretary in charge of Tourism and Medium Business, Ernst Burgbacher will be visiting Tunisia, from April 29 to May 2, together with a German delegation.
We also plan to organize, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Hamburg, ONTT and the Ministry of Tourism, a third forum of exchange and partnership between hoteliers and Tunisian decision makers on the one hand and tour operators and representatives of German travel agencies on the other hand, to redefine the Tunisian tourism product by taking into account the segment of the German market.
From June 12 to 16, the AHK Tunisia will organize in collaboration with the AHK in Egypt, a business trip around the theme of energy efficiency in the tourism and hotel trade sectors.
The objective is to sensitize stakeholders and policy makers in Tunisia and Egypt to the importance of energy efficiency technologies and offer them the opportunity to establish contacts with German companies and institutions that already operate in this sector.
What are your estimations about the number of German tourists who will visit Tunisia in 2012?
This is a very difficult question, but I’m optimistic for the next season especially with the improvement of security conditions in Tunisia.
Tunisia is urged today, especially with the support received from the German Federal Government, to increase the number of tourists by targeting the German-speaking area that has a population of one hundred million citizens.
This is a long and difficult task. However, everything is possible in the era of development.