Tourism As A Development Strategy In… Tunisia. Development. Tunisia has an established tourist industry benefitting from its Mediterranean location and its tradition of low-cost package holidays from Western Europe.
Development • Tunisia has an established tourist industry benefitting from its Mediterranean location and its tradition of low-cost package holidays from Western Europe. • The Tunisian government has actively promoted tourism; between 1970 and 1992 the number of hotels rose from 212 to over 550, and the number of bed spaces increased from 34,000 to about 135,000. • Nearly 2 million European tourists entered Tunisia in 1992, in addition to over 1.5 million visitors from North Africa.
Development • However, tourist numbers have fluctuated and Tunisia has been unable to attract the high-spending US visitors, largely due to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and political instability in the region. • In Tunisia, the tourist industry earns over US$900 million and employs over 50,000 people. • Given the state involvement in Tunisia, a high proportion of its earnings remain in the country.
What Has Been Done? • Most of the employment is low-paid and unskilled, such as waiters, kitchen staff, and cleaners, while many of the managers are foreign workers. • To combat this, the Tunisian government has established a number of training schools. • The country also needs to develop its agricultural sector in order to provide food for the tourist market and to reduce expensive imports.
Tourism Planning • The Tunisian government has developed a series of five-year National Development Plans. • The development of tourism has been an increasingly important element of these plans. • The Seventh National Development Plan (1986-89) set up some targets…
Seventh National Development Plan (1986-89) • Bed spaces to increase by 19% to 118,000. • Bed occupancy to increase by 42% to 18 million bed nights. • Direct employment to increase by 13% to 46,000. • Total investment to increase by 72% to approximately $1435 million. • Annual tourism receipts to increase from 4% to $932 million.
Range Of Investments • Infrastructural investments, especially transport routes. • Promotion and marketing, especially since the recession of the 1980’s and the Gulf War of the early 1990’s. • Training programmes. • Regional initiatives aimed at diversification of attractions and the development of new tourist areas.
As Time Went On… • The Seventh National Development Plan announced several new tourist areas, including an integrated resort at Port El Kantaoui with over 13,000 bed spaces, a marina, restaurants, and a range of sports facilities. • Smaller schemes were planned for Hergla and Gamarth.
In Addition… • Projects on the undeveloped Northern Tunisian coasts and proposals for new tourist access to the Arridge Interior in Southern Tunisia were announced. • At Tabarka, on the Northern Coast, a new integrated tourist route has been created, linking the coast with the desert and mountain oasis at Tamerza. • This follows the old Arab trading routes and uses accommodation in modern versions of the traditional caravaneserai (hotels or staging posts).
Tourism Today • France, Germany, Italy, and the UK are the 4 traditional tourist markets, though Tunisia lost roughly 500,000 tourists from Germany after the events of 9/11. • From 2003-04, it regained tourists, and 2007 saw arrivals increasing by 3% on 2006.
Activity Using Advanced Geography P417, answer the following… • Why are more people from the “Developed World” taking holidays in Tunisia? • What are the advantages and disadvantages of tourism to developing countries such as Tunisia? • It is argued that tourism causes environmental damage but it can also lead to environmental protection. Discuss.