Tunisia’s total revenue increased at an annual rate of 12.7% in 2012 due to an increase in domestic and inbound tourist volumes.
|LONDON – Despite the decline in tourism Tunisia experienced following the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011, total revenue has rebounded at a rate of 12.75% during 2012. This recovery was primarily due to an influx of domestic and inbound tourist volumes. Additionally, airline revenues have seen a 39% growth rate during 2012.
While tourism is still affected by political instability and terrorist concerns within the region, the government’s measure to improve tourism infrastructure and the creation of pro-tourism regulations has helped restore the country’s economic lifeblood.
Improved social and political climate
The ejection of Ben Ali’s repressive reign has lead to a newly elected constituent assembly that is likely to maintain a priority focus on tourism and continue initiatives to encourage foreign investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tunisia has already seen increase of 24.1% between 2011 and 2012 creating a total of 7,501 new jobs, mitigating social unrest.
Airline industry growth aided by regulatory reforms
Airlines saw a strong recovery with the end of the revolution, with a 39.7% growth rate over 2012, following a 29.5% decline in 2011. However, despite the recovery, airlines relied heavily on tour operators to generate flight bookings due to the high fares charged by international airlines. With minor social and political restoration and modified airline regulations, airline industry prospects are promising. Proposed open-skies agreement with the EU to bilateral air agreements with various nations in Europe, Africa and the Arab region, will act as important growth drivers for the Tunisian airlines industry.
Pressure from competitors prompts growth in Medical and Wellness Tourism
Egypt and Morocco, Tunisia’s neighboring tourism giants, are also in the midst of enticing tourists, pressuring Tunisia to explore new markets in order to refuel its inbound tourist deficit. The financial crisis had major impact on the tourism industry, affecting the primary European market. As a result, a new field of Medical Tourism has emerged and it’s expected to grow strongly by 2017, aiding the recovery of the stifled sector.
Driving Medical Tourism is a solid medical infrastructure, ensuring access to inexpensive yet high-quality medical services. Factored into costs, are luxury lodgings for family members with a broad range of treatments available to meet growing demands for health and wellness tourism. Treatments included spas, resorts and thalassic therapy centers, supplementing the appeal for cash-strapped Europeans. Adding to this growth, Tunisia aims to develop and promote its thalassotherapy centers, such as those in Hammamet.