The 2018 tourist year in Tunisia ended with the arrival of 7,903,385 tourists, up 17.4% over 2017, according to figures from the Ministry of Tourism at December 20, 2018.
The entire year 2018 should end with a little over 8 million tourist entries, confirming the recovery of the sector and breaking, for the first time since the revolution, the psychological wall of 2010 that has become for many tourism ministers the year of reference that had to be at least equal.
In 2010, according to official figures from the INS, the total arrivals of non-resident travelers were 6.903 million.
In detail for 2018, the number of European tourists who were 2,368,444 million to spend their holidays in Tunisia had certainly increased 42.3% compared to 2017.
This figure however still remains far from the 3.82 million European tourists reached in 2010 and which then accounted for just over half of the total number of Europeans entering Tunisia.
We will not hesitate to point out, however, that French arrivals increased by 37.4%, those of the Germans by 52.4%, those of the Russians who confirm themselves as an emerging market for Tunisia (589.424) and an increase of 16.2% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Also on December 20, 2018, the Algerian market confirms the special place it now occupies on the Tunisian market.
2.496,127 million have visited Tunisia, compared with just 1.060 million at the end of the 2010 reference year.
What is new in the 2018 figures is that Tunisian expatriates are counted separately. They were 1.324 million to visit Tunisia, almost half of Algerians who had spent their holidays in Tunisia.
26 million overnight stays, including 5.433 million in local tourism
However, the reference year 2010 has not yet been reached in terms of overnight stays.
As of December 20, 2018, Tunisian hotels recorded 26,139,076 overnight stays. A figure up 22.8% over 2017.
Overnights for non-residents stood at 20,706,609 at the same date, of which more than 6.112 million of Russians, 3.244 million of French and 2.842 million of Germans.
The total overnight stays, even with residents, did not, however, equal the 32.136 million overnight stays, for non-residents of 2010 alone, which were already down from 35 million in 2008.
It should nevertheless be noted that with 5.433 million overnight stays, Tunisian residents have stayed in hotels more than Algerians (2.454.613 million overnight stays).
Overnight stays of Algerians even fell by 2.6% compared to 2017, confirming a trend already noticed of a move towards renting apartments or houses from Tunisian owners.
Tunisians preferred Hammamet and Carthage Coasts trending
Tunisians were 2,333,420 tourists, with an average of 2.3 million overnight stays, mainly in Yasmine-Hammamet which no longer attracts as in 2017 (-4% overnight stays).
Overnight stays of Tunisians in hotels in the Nabeul-Hammamet region also dropped 17.2%.
Nights spent by locals in hotels in Sousse were also down 2.4%. Locals obviously like more hotels in the suburbs of Tunis in 2018. With only 33,522 overnight stays, the destination Tunis-Carthage Coasts had indeed attracted 3% more nights than in 2017.
Djerba-Zarzis favorite tourist destination
In terms of overnight stays too, it is the Djerba-Zarzis region that is proving to be the favorite tourist destination for the year 2018, with figures rising by almost 46%.
Hotels of this favorite Tunisian destination have indeed recorded 6,799,832 overnight stays, far ahead of Sousse whose hoteliers have collected 4,883,964 overnight stays.
Nabeul-Hammamet attracted only 4,119,918 nights, double Yasmine-Hammamet with 2.502,051 million overnight stays.
Hotels in the Monastir-Skanes region had done better, attracting 3,066,767 overnight stays, far ahead of Tunis-Carthage Coasts whose hotels had recorded only 1,646,271 overnight stays.
3.9 billion TD revenue, just like 2010 at the same date
As of December 20, 2018, this year’s tourist season left € 1.258.8 billion in Tunisian coffers, equivalent to $ 1.488.8 billion, or $ 3.928.8 billion in Tunisian Dinar receipts. In TD, the increase in tourism receipts was 42.1%, in Euros it was still up 23.8% compared to 2017 and still up 30.13% in USD.
As of December 20, 2018, tourist receipts were at the same level as those of 2010 in Tunisian Dinars.
According to Tunisia’s National Tourist Office (ONTT) indicators, tourist receipts stood at 3.9 billion dinars as at December 20, 2010, compared with 2.3 billion in 2011, i.e. an increase of 30%.
For those who would like to venture to compare the value of the Dinar in 2010, we consulted professionals of the BCT who asserted that various parameters, endogenous and exogenous, would distort any comparison.
What remains to be remembered is that Tunisian tourism has regained strength in 2018 and that it finally broke the psychological wall of 2010.
So remains to maintain the trend in 2019 and to solve the problems born of years of revolution, for hoteliers, hoping that the government’s concern for fiscal resources at all times will not break this momentum.
Finally, remember that René Trabelsi was appointed Minister of Tourism on November 14, 2018. Earlier, there was Selma Elloumi Rekik.