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Tunisia: will the tourism industry recover faster than expected?

On the day the attack was perpetrated the Sousse attack that left 38 dead and more than forty injured, it made sense to add a 39th victim, tourism, which was already struggling to recover from an equally devastating impact of another attack, namely the Bardo Museum’s, received a hard blow.

There were many who had declared on the evening of June 26, that “the tourist season is over,” while others were predicting a downward spiral of at least five years. At the same time, a true air bridge has been established to repatriate tourists in their respective countries, depopulating many hotels not only in Sousse but also in other tourist areas of the country, and even in Morocco Because of the effect of contagion and fears that similar attack would be repeated in a Muslim country.

Is this bottoming out expected to last as long as the Tunisia destination will be maintained under the yoke? In any case, when one begins to regain his senses, indications are emerging to suggest a hint of rebound in tourism.

First, Minister of Tourism, Salma Elloumi Rekik announced the maintenance by the tour operator Thomas Cook of 15 flights per week to Tunisia, noting in the same context that 3 planes arrived on the same day at the Airport of Enfidha. Moreover, 1,000 tourists are expected by Sunday, July 12 through Thomas Cook. The minister nevertheless noted the wave of cancellations of reservations and flights to Tunisia since the first week of July, pointing out that a million overnight stays have been canceled.

Then the German tour operator Derr Touristik has sent a letter to its Tunisian partner hotels where it affirms not only it wants to continue to promote the destination to its customers but is prepared to step up its efforts to save a summer season that is looking obviously very complicated for the Tunisian professionals.

“In consultation with airlines, we will now plan our rotations based on actual bookings so that you, hoteliers, can organize and plan the occupation of your establishments and better adjust your fixed costs. Derr Touristik is betting that the demands on the Tunisia destination will soon start to rise. ”

Finally, Air Marin, Swiss-French leader on Tunisia, which had 285 customers in Tunisia during the attack in El Kantaoui Port, most of them staying in Djerba, said that all customers immediately contacted by the incoming agency of Romand TO wished to finish the initially planned stay.

“We reaffirm our unbreakable will to continue to program and promote this destination. It is also our duty to show our solidarity with the Tunisian people. In order to move towards a peaceful future, the economy of this country needs its tourism. Our programming has been regulated but is identical in outline. Our adjusted air commitments remain unchanged, especially as regards the October program, “reads a statement released by Air Marin.

Less impact!

As Tunisians were still in shock and that the tourism industry in mourning, information, in other times, trivial, had the good fortune to put the balm to the heart. A report by Deloitte firm on travel and tourism, reported by Quartz, carries many assurances.

“The trauma of the terrorist attacks probably remains anchored, but the tourism industry and customers seem to have become more resilient. According to the 2015 competitiveness report of Deloitte for the World Economic Forum, the rate at which the hotel industry recovers after political unrest or violent event “has decreased significantly” in the last fifteen years. ”

We can read in the report that the fill rate of the New York hotels took thirty-four months to recover from September 11. In comparison, it took twelve months to Madrid hotels to find the same rate after the 2004 attacks, and nine months to London hotels after those of July 2005. The attack in Boston and the murder of Lee Rigby in London have them had a limited impact, the report said.

“Although the impact of the attacks in January in France is not present in the data, anecdotal evidence suggests that hotels that target the leisure market suffered an immediate impact in the short term.”

The report gives several reasons, but also explains that there has been a change of mentality with “the emergence of a culture of” business as usual “in response to terrorism.”

Quartz recalls that the World Tourism Organization had already identified this phenomenon after the 2005 attack in Egypt, where 88 people were killed. “The agency had then noted that changes in tourist activities were minimal and that civil society now knows the global nature of these threats [terrorists] and chose not to give in to them.”

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