The coronavirus pandemic has devastatedTunisia’s tourism industry, with the vital sector expected to see 400,000 people lose their jobs this year and $1.4bn in lost revenue.
Like many countries across the globe, Tunisia has been under lockdown for weeks, with most residents only leaving their homes for exercise, grocery shopping and pharmacy runs.
Economic Challenges Ahead…
But as the second-biggest contributor to the country’s economy after agriculture, the tourism industry has almost completely shut down. Restaurants have closed, as have hotels and land borders, and international flights have been banned.
Tourist arrivals fell from over 7 million in 2010 to 5 million by 2015. But the number of visitors rose to 8.3 million in 2018, a 17 percent increase from 2017
Now, under the pandemic, that number is expected to plummet.
Tunisia has recorded a total of 747 cases of the virus and 34 coronavirus-related deaths. So far, 43 people have recovered from the infection.
Tunisia’s number of cases falls well below neighbouring Algeria, which has reported 2,160 cases and 336 deaths, highlighting the need to ban tourism in order to slow the spread, as tourists from Algeria, Russia and the EU make up a large portion of the country’s yearly visitors.
Security Bottom Line
In a report released on Wednesday, the IMF said in general, economies across the Middle East and North Africa are expected to shrink by 3.3 percent during 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Tunisia. Having just completed a complicated election cycle, the country was looking forward to a much needed successful tourism season.
At the time of this writing both the U.S. and UK embassies advises against all but essential international travel.
If you’re operating in Tunisiafind out how you can have access to reliable security information & support.
Of the three crimes on the rise, purse snatching is the one that most concerns me because of the bold nature in which the perpetrators are conducting them. On one occasion a lady’s purse was snatched in broad daylight while walking through an upscale street in Berges du Lac. Unharmed, the victim lost all her IDs, house keys, cell phone, and a small amount of cash. Another incident with similar results took place only a few meters from the US Embassy & American school on the La Marsa highway.
Walk against traffic with handbags kept away from the street side.
Be on the lookout for motorcycles.
Avoid carrying important documents & items of high worth in purse.
US Embassy Security & Safety Update
The US Embassy recently updated their safety and security sectionfor Tunisia and it clearly states that “muggings have occurred during daylight hours in upscale neighborhoods; in some cases these encounters have turned violent when the victim tried to resist.”
Compare & Contrast (take a deep breath…)
Tunisia’s crime rate is far below most major cities and we have noted a significant improvement on the part of the security forces in terms of their professionalism & reaction.
Additionally, Tunisians are proud of their beautiful country and determined to make it shine during the tourist season. As one optimistic Tunisian man puts it: