The share of domestic tourism in overall tourism activity fell by 45% in 2020, the president of the Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies (FTAV), Jabeur Attouche, told Africanmanager ar.
Visitors from European source markets are not left out. According to the same source, their flows have shrunk by 86%, while North African tourists have fallen by 80%, not to mention air traffic which has shrunk by as much.
The president of the FTAV called for the application of the measures decided in favor of businesses and establishments in the tourism industry in order to limit the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, recalling that the sector is stricken with paralysis and describing of “catastrophic”, the situation he is going through.
Faced with this crisis, the epilogue of which is difficult to predict, domestic tourism is emerging as the lifeline through which it will be possible to mitigate the repercussions, especially economic and social, of this scourge. As such, and notwithstanding some difficulties related to both the economic and security context, this sector appears to be one of the most promising in the country alongside industry and agriculture. It provides jobs, both permanent and seasonal. It also contributes to the dynamism of other economic sectors, such as transport, crafts, commerce, catering, services, etc.
There is therefore an absolute need to encourage Tunisian families to visit tourist resorts not only during the summer season but also throughout the year. Likewise, it is necessary that hotels offer reduced prices to attract a large number of Tunisians. An approach that makes it possible to promote the performance and advantages of the sector while increasing the local market share in the growth of tourism activity.
This need is all the more felt as the coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the situation by blocking horizons elsewhere, leading the authorities and the various stakeholders to tap into local resources. The head of government, Hichem Mechichi, has already given the approval that a program to encourage domestic tourism will be in place until March 31, 2021, financed by the fund for the development of competitiveness in the tourism sector, in addition a program to strengthen air links with the international airport of Tozeur-Nefta, the main airport in the south-west of the country, he said.
The Minister of Tourism, Habib Ammar, echoed this point in an interview with the magazine “L’Echo tourisme”. Asked if domestic tourism has somewhat offset the fall in international arrivals, he replied with a strong “yes”, explaining that “precisely, domestic tourism has always been a support, in difficult times. Unfortunately, in our current tourism model, there is not enough room. We have taken short-term measures, by subsidizing Tunisians’ trips to our country a little. In the long term, we will make domestic tourism one of our strategic pillars. Consequently, we will adapt the tourist product and the accommodation to the expectations of the Tunisian population ”.
Agreement to boost local tourism
We will also mention the framework agreement signed by the Tunisian National Tourist Office (ONTT), the Tunisian Federation of Hotels (FTH) and the Tunisian Federation of Travel and Tourism Agencies (FTAV) for objective to promote local tourism. It is the Competitiveness Development Fund (FODEC) that will finance this promotional campaign, said a statement released on Saturday by the FTH.
This agreement, which covers a period from December 1 to March 31, 2021, aims to boost local tourism which has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry recalled that the signing of the agreement is part of the implementation of the decision of the head of government, during a restricted ministerial council held on November 6, 2020, which stipulates the establishment of a domestic tourism revival program, until March 31, 2021, and its financing by FODEC.
The ministry pointed out that the ONTT has been mandated to oversee the implementation of the content of this agreement, which aims to support and boost domestic tourism in partnership with professionals given the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The agreement also aims to boost sectors linked to domestic tourism, including crafts, restaurants and air transport.