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Wednesday 16 June 2021
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Tunisia: no way for improvisation in tourism

The tourism industry pioneer of economic development, second-largest employer just behind agriculture, is undergoing a recession in the sense that Tunisia is not a preferred destination for a lot of foreign visitors. It on this observation that the Tunisian-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry built its discussions during a luncheon held on Wednesday and headed by the Minister of Tourism, Slim Tlatli on the theme “The strategy of the tourism sector by 2016.”
Indeed, after growing rapidly between the 80 and 90, the tourism sector faces some difficulties due firstly to a very unsteady international situation and also to a context marked by competition in the Mediterranean.
According to competent authorities, it is likely that the destination Tunisia has trouble completing the year 2010 under the best auspices. Moreover, strategic markets of the Tunisian destination are decreasing and so are the numbers of entries and revenues. Given these data, has the Tunisian tourism been overtaken by the impact of the crisis? And is this impact the sole cause of these somewhat disturbing results? This was the focal question raised during this meeting.
In a highly friendly atmosphere, Fouad Lakhoua, President of the CTFCI said this is not the only causes of this decline.
It is the result of a mismatch of the supply which is considered strongly turned to seaside and mid-range offer. “When we analyze the policy of diversification undertaken for some time, we note that efforts are not sufficient,” he reported. It is within this context that stakeholders have taken significant steps to further enrich the product, differentiate and diversify it, while initiating an innovative study compared to the previous strategy of the tourism sector to 2016.
Minister Slim Tlatli has offered to initiate discussions with a view to flush out ideas that would ensure a better strategic positioning of the Tunisian tourism.
He “identified” the strengths and weaknesses of tourism and its position compared to direct competitors of the destination. “We all agree that there are 4 factors that have impacted upon the reality of tourism in Tunisia. The change in consumer behavior, the emergence of innovative products, tough competition from countries with innovative and aggressive trade policies and especially non-existence on the web … “said Slim Tlatli. Yet, solutions are here: the Internet, cross-communication, direct marketing … all these techniques could be combined to serve the image “Tunisia.”
For their part, participants tried to view the developments and achievements made in recent years in this area while highlighting the structural changes experienced by the sector because the international scene has changed a lot.
In fact, despite its contribution to economic growth with 5.5% of GDP, 13.3% of exports, generating about 400,000 jobs and its ranking second behind textile in terms of revenue, the tourism sector seems to slip into a spiral of decay and decline.
In another aspect of this meeting, participants’ questions and the Minister’s answers focused on the different strengths and weaknesses of the Tunisian tourism. In this regard, many participants blasted the professionals who always skimp on quality. Thought, the latter is irreversible for a better performance of the sector, it is not yet evident.
The question of the absence on the net has also been raised since it represents a real threat to the reputation of the destination. Hence the importance of adopting direct marketing methods and taking advantage of opportunities offered by the Internet, where the presence of the Tunisia destination is limited.
The development of marketing, including on the web, is indeed the keystone of the takeoff of tourism in Tunisia. Actually, tourism will inevitably become the first market sector on the web a few years later. And we will be miles away from passive consumers who merely content themselves with brochures and TO. Hence the need to introduce new marketing techniques.
Ecological tourism, cultural tourism, health tourism, business tourism, clubbing, film tourism,… That’s how stakeholders perceive tourism in Tunisia. A multidisciplinary tourism, a variety of services for our country to shine at the international level and compete with countries that have drawn one day on the Tunisian model to revitalize their sector.
At the end of the luncheon, Slim Tlatli and the President of CTFCI pledged to maintain this partnership. They promised to multiply these encounters that are certainly enriching and constructive to promote Tunisian tourism in its various components, all  the more so that all operators are now convinced that the strategy to 2016 is a sine qua non for a takeoff of tourism in Tunisia. The development of this key sector of the national economy cannot be improvised. … Ideas are already there. What is needed is action.


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