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Tunisian tourism resilient to crisis

Tunisian tourism has kept its momentum after a year of financial and economic crisis while Tunisia is one of the very few countries that have managed to preserve their tourist yield, Minister of Tourism Khelil Lajimi said when addressing journalists at a news conference in Tunis.

He pointed out that the country hosted till November 2009 some 6.495 million tourists, i.e., a 2% decrease compared to 2008, while the number of tourist bed-nights fell by 8.7% (33.700 million bed-nights).

Foreign currency revenues generated by the sector, which were estimated at that period at 3.210 billion dinars, posted for their part, a 2% rise.

The tourism minister expressed optimism as to the indicators to be recorded in December, pointing out that it was, however, difficult to forecast those of 2010, despite the sector’s resistance to the impact of the crisis and confirmation of last-time booking operations.

With regard to the quality of tourist products, the minister pointed out that the upgrading programme of hotel units allowed so far to downgrade 80 hotels and give to 130 others more time to implement their upgrading plans.

Regarding domestic tourism, he said the target set for this activity is to raise its contribution to the promotion of tourism from 7.5% to 15%, which requires, he said, thinking of ways to adjust this activity to the Tunisian families’ needs.

As to the strategic study on tourism by 2016, Mr. Lajimi said its first stage, that of diagnosis, was completed, and the two others need to be completed (work techniques and operational procedures and programmes).

On 2010, the minister announced that an agreement was signed with a tour operator for the visit of 10,000 Austrian retirees, compared with only 7,000 in 2009.

Austrian tourists will travel on Tunisair flights, he said, adding that actions will go on till 2011 to promote the Tunisia destination on that market.

The minister also mentioned other actions to promote Tunisia, including the arrival next May of the French national soccer team on a training camp in Tunisia and that of Lyons Football Club in January 2010.

The minister also referred, in this regard, to plans and strategies implemented to promote the Tunisia destination and public carrier Tunisair in international events to be held shortly in Madrid (Spain), Milan (Italy) and Zurich (Swiss).

On the Internet, the portal of Tunisian tourism will be operational and accessible prior to the next tourist season, the minister announced.


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