With the likes of UK travel association ABTA recommending cheap holidays in Tunisia as a great way to soak up the winter sun, the North African country’s tourism agency has been capitalising on the recent surge in interest in the destination to stress the many historical and cultural delights that are also awaiting discovery by overseas visitors.
Tunisian commerce and tourism minister Mehdi Houas told the World Travel Market recently that the country’s tourism chiefs will be widening the appeal of Tunisia holidays and challenging the everyday perception of the destination as merely a place to find sun, sand and sea.
There’s plenty for the culture enthusiast to enjoy in Tunisia, with over 3,000 years of history encompassing first the legendary city-state of Carthage, razed by the Romans, then life as a Roman province, followed by a new civilization under the Vandals in the 5th century, the Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. It was also a province of the Ottoman Empire, and finally a French protectorate, before gaining independence 1956.
Mr Houas also highlighted the country’s beautiful landscapes and natural wonders – plus the new atmosphere of openness following the democratic revolution last year.
“Visitors can now meet the real people, speak to them freely and experience the culture first hand,” he declared.
“This is a great opportunity for tourism; Tunisia still has a lot of potential to attract many new visitors.”
The minister had only praise for UK holidaymakers, who he said were playing the greatest role in the country’s financial recovery of all international visitors. Mr Houas revealed that last year some 353,200 Britons opted for cheap holidays in Tunisia, a 28 per cent increase compared to 2009.