The equation is simple: without tourists, Tunisia risks bankruptcy. And each day that passes without tourism plunges Tunisians a little more in concern. Tourism is more than 10% of gross domestic product, and it is half a million jobs in the country. This year, however, everything was off to a good start. Tourism was off to a strong start, and Tunisians could envision a rich season that would have benefited the country’s economy. Then the coronavirus knocked on the door of Africa, via the Maghreb among others. Suddenly, the country’s 11,000 hotel rooms had to close, except to receive patients in solitary confinement.
Tunisia coped well with health crisis, ultimately “only” 47 dead
The Tunisian government took action early, and did not take the virus lightly. The country has been praised for its very transparent management by the World Health Organization. Closure of schools, bars, hotels, museums, administrations, isolation in case of suspicion. In total, there were 1,046 patients at the last score. A patient tracking application is already available, although it is not yet widely used. But Tunis can already announce the lifting of all containment measures from June 14. Cafes, restaurants and hotels will be able to open at 50% of their capacity.
But local tourism only accounts for 20% of the activity. It is on European tourism that Tunisia counts: for this it is necessary that the country is officially designated by Brussels as a state to which travelers can go without risk.
Another complicated year for Tunisia
Five years ago, on March 18, 2015, two terrorists attacked the Bardo museum, near the Parliament. They kill 24 people. Tunisia scares, tourists flee. It will take advertising campaigns, promotional rates, and a lot of patience to bring back the nine million annual visitors to the country. All this effort, which was beginning to bear fruit, is being undermined. Tunisia has struggled to show that it is no longer dangerous. She must now make it known that she is healthy.