After three months Tunisia is open for tourists. The charter flights resumed to the North Africa country after a break of more than three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There were about 155 tourists from France, Germany, and Luxembourg that visited the resort island of Djerba, last week. However, on arrival, their temperatures were checked. Moreover, the hostesses were offering bouquets of jasmine to the tourists.
‘We can’t save the whole season, but we will do everything we can to save part of it,’ said Tourism Minister Mohamed Ali Toumi, who was at the airport to welcome the Luxair flight.
However, Tunisia has a population of about 11.5 million people. There have been 1,374 coronavirus infections and 50 deaths in the country.
It reopened its borders for tourists on June 27. However, tourists from countries that fall in the green category can enter in Tunisia. The green countries include France, Germany and Luxembourg, are not subject to any coronavirus restrictions.
Effect of the Pandemic
Tourism contributes eight and 14 percent of Tunisia’s GDP. It provides employment to around half a million people. However, because of coronavirus the country’s economy is suffering and causing many people to lose their job.
Due to no tourism, there has been a decline of around 50 percent between January 1 and July 10, as compared to the same period last year in the tourism industry.
Authorities are counting on health regulations to reassure tourists and the sector. They have reduced the hotel capacity to half in order to comply with anti-coronavirus measures.
‘We are determined to apply the health protocol strictly,’ the tourism minister said. Authorities are hoping for a revival of the sector in early 2021.
In other parts of North Africa, Morocco will be easing its own coronavirus restrictions on Sunday. It will be allowing tourist establishments to operate at full capacity but the borders will remain closed.
A ‘third phase’ of easing was set to come into effect on Monday, authorities said in a statement. As part of the continued implementation of measures necessary for a gradual return to normal life and restarting the economy.
However, the government is allowing tourist businesses to use 100 percent of their capacity. But in command areas, they should operate with 50 percent capacity, such as restaurants, pools and indoor sports facilities.
But the kingdom will keep its borders closed until further notice, except for returning Moroccans and residents.
However, in Morocco cafes, restaurants and shops are open since June and for domestic tourism to restart.
A state of health emergency remains in place in Morocco until August 10.