Tunisian flags are flying once again
One in five British holidaymakers say they may visit Tunisia, now that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has relaxed its travel advice, according to research by World Travel Market London.
A poll of more than 1,000 Brits who have taken a holiday in 2017 asked: “The UK government has recently removed its advice against travelling to Tunisia. How likely are you to visit the country in the future?” Almost one in 10 (9%) said ‘somewhat likely’; 7% said ‘quite likely’; and 4% said ‘extremely likely’ – giving a total of 20% who felt a trip to Tunisia was on the cards. More than 45 million overseas holidays were taken by Brits in 2016, so that could mean nine million consumers are considering Tunisia as their summer holiday destination for 2018.
Before the ban in 2015, about 420,000 Brits travelled to Tunisia annually, but that fell to just over 23,000 in 2016 due to the restrictions. The Tunisian National Tourist Office in the UK estimates that numbers will reach 30,000 in 2017, and will more than double in 2018 to 65,000. As soon as the FO advice was lifted in July, British tour operators such as Thomas Cook started selling holidays to Tunisia again.
The confidence of UK holidaymakers is mirrored among those in the travel trade, who were also surveyed by WTM London. When asked about which destinations they were planning to have business conversations with, 10% said Tunisia. Those buyers were then asked if they would sign contracts with Tunisian exhibitors, 77% said yes. Furthermore, 82% of those quizzed in the trade survey said the tourism industry has a responsibility to support countries that face external pressures, such as Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt.
The Tunisian National Tourist Office is working to reassure travellers, and developing marketing plans with trade partners to highlight Tunisia’s attractions, such as its winter sun credentials, well-being centres, sightseeing and niche markets.
Tunisia has more than 700 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean; almost 800 hotels; and 10 internationally designed golf courses.
According to WTM London’s Paul Nelson, the Tunisian government has been very supportive of the country’s tourism industry through its crisis. “The UK government has worked closely with the Tunisian authorities and when the Foreign Office lifted its travel ban in the summer, it said the Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts. These efforts mean that UK holidaymakers are keen to return to a destination that has been very popular with Brits for many years.”