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Tunisia: Ennahdha’s proposals to solve the hotels’ debt problem

Interviewed during a meeting held recently on “the prospects of tourism in Tunisia,” Imed Rezgueni, Executive Board member of “Ennahdha” spoke of the commitment of this moderate Islamist party that won the Constituent Assembly elections of October 23 to promote the tourism industry by strengthening marketing activities.

Several measures have been announced including the creation of a joint committee to support tourism, which is arguably the sector most hit by the Revolution. Can you clarify?

The idea of creating a joint committee aims to solve the debt problem, one of the major problems plaguing the tourism sector. It is for this reason that we wanted to create this committee, which includes the various stakeholders: hoteliers, banks, auditors, Government departments and experts to find solutions on an individual basis for hotels that are heavily indebted.

The point is to diversify products (health, congresses, golf, marina, ecological, archaeological, cultural and sporting tourism), to improve the quality of services and reform the aviation sector.

For air transport, Ennahdha proposes to support the national fleet and open airspace to foreign companies while respecting the sovereignty of the country’s airspace.

Do you think these measures are the best to save an ailing sector?

This area has long suffered from structural and economic problems. It’s true that if we will address the structural problems, we must correct the situation. So, to do so, it is important to restore peace and security to reassure clients, and this through the intensification of advertising and communication to help tourism bounce back.

Therefore, we will invite foreign tour operators and all stakeholders to promote and encourage the destination of Tunisia to move upmarket.

Even with such initiatives, tourism today needs serious and real actions, not words and still words?

Of course, there are political consultations to form the Government. In the meantime, we are unveiling our plan as a political party. We did not want to waste time. We wanted to present the program of Ennahdha to ease somewhat the fears of various stakeholders.

What do you think would be the role of the next government to deal with it?

Recovering the market requires intensive and effective campaigns contrary to those launched earlier, including participation in international tourism fairs, activating the role of embassies and ONTT offices abroad and Eductours, and this to change the industry and keep the place of Tunisia across the spectrum of destinations.

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