Tunisia Calls on European Governments to Change Travel AdvisoryMarch 1, 2016 in Tunisia
Tunisia has called on European governments to revise warnings for the country, highlighting its efforts to boost security after deadly jihadist attacks hit its vital tourism sector last year.
In a statement, which was released late Wednesday (17 February), Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui stated “showing solidarity with Tunisia in this period requires (European) states to review their warnings to citizens against travelling to Tunisia, which will help the tourism sector regain its normal pace.” On Wednesday, the Foreign Minister, along with Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub and Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik spoke about revising the travel advise when they met with ambassadors of European Union (EU) countries. According to the statement, Majdoub disclosed that “the police and army stand” ready to confront any threats. The statement also indicated that at the meeting, Majdoub presented measures to “improve the security situation and secure ports, airports and touristic places.” Details of these measures however were not indicated in the statement.
After a July attack that killed 38 tourists, including thirty Britons, in a beach resort near Sousse, European countries, such as Britain and Ireland, advised their nationals to leave Tunisia and avoid “all but essential travel.” The attack followed another on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis in March that killed twenty-one tourists and a policeman. Both were claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group. In November, an IS-claimed suicide bombing on a bus in Tunis killed twelve presidential guards.
Last month, the central bank reported that in the wake of these attacks, Tunisia lost more than a third of its tourism revenues in 2015. According to the tourism ministry, the number of tourists from Europe fell by more than half from 2014 – and by nearly two-thirds compared with 2010. Figures released on Wednesday disclosed that Tunisia’s economic growth slowed to 0.8 percent in 2015 from 2.3 percent the previous year.