The Director General of the Hydrotherapy Board, Frej Douas says that the promotion of spas industry will be made only through changes in the quality of their services and their products and improving their positioning. It is a strategic approach to attract a new class of tourists in Tunisia. Interview:
Can you take stock of the current situation of the spa sector in Tunisia?
Tunisia has a very important thermal potential with 50 recorded thermal springs. To this is added a capital competence allowing it to be the largest exporting center of spas worldwide.
The right climate, proximity to Europe, the draconian standards of hygiene and fair prices with good value for money, are all qualities that make the reputation of the Tunisian spa.
The sector has made remarkable progress in recent years, thanks to the many measures taken in order to boost investment, in particular.
And what is the level achieved in terms of investment?
Currently, we are at around 150 MTD. According to the strategic sector, investment could reach 216, 810 MTD. This should allow attracting 125,000 spa visitors, including 60,000 foreigners.
There is a strong desire among investors. However, changing land use remains one of the black spots that hinder entrepreneurs from creating their projects.
This is why efforts are currently underway to address them and attract more investors in the sector of hydrotherapy.
To recap, several projects are underway like the realization of a spa town in El Khabayat (Gabès Governorate) and the ecological project in Beni Mtir, using renewable energy with advanced technology. Tunisia is rich in sources but they should be tapped rationally, particularly with the growing demand for investment on the part of doctors and experts.
What is the purpose?
Our ultimate goal is to reach 7 million spa-goers. It is a reassuring figure that could exceed the rate of population estimated at 11 million inhabitants according to other countries like Spain.
Tell us a little about the blueprint for land reserves necessary for the development of hydrotherapy projects and its added value for the sector?
After three stages discussed by all stakeholders from different ministries, we can say that the main objective of developing this plan is the identification of water sources first and delineation of ways while defining action programs for the creation of thermal projects in these areas. The plan will also help promote the buoyant hydrotherapy sector to review its assets for better repositioning especially with the interest shown by entrepreneurs willing to invest in this area.
What are the recommendations to achieve your goals?
An additional effort is still needed to become a destination as attractive as Italy, France, Germany or China…
We also believe it is time to upgrade the sector and bring it into line with international standards on all levels. Moreover, our adherence to the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy demonstrates our commitment to enforce these standards. This requires the promotion of quality. The recommended target is to encourage investment in this area.