Tunisian tourism suffers in light of Algeria’s border closure, since Algerian tourists are important in attracting hard currency to Tunisia.
Tunisian tourism has always benefited from the movement of Algerian tourists, especially in times of crisis.
The Algerian market represents one of the most important tourist markets for Tunisia. About 2.5 million tourists flocked to it in 2019, making up approximately 25% of the total number of incoming tourists.
Tunisia is one of the three favorite tourist destinations for Algerians who are able to travel to it by land. Travel by land is cheaper for family tourism, compared to air travel.
However, land borders have been closed since March 16, 2020 due to Coronavirus. Specific land crossings are opened on specific dates to evacuate stranded Algerian or Tunisian students and nationals.
Tourism professionals acknowledge the importance of the Algerian market. Head of Tunisian Federation of Travel and Tourism Agencies, Dhafer Latif, says that the tourism industry has begun its first steps to recover from the effects of the pandemic, taking advantage of the easing of travel measures in some European countries and the internal movement of local tourists on the occasion of winter vacation and end-of-year vacations.
This movement allowed hotels and tourist resorts to reopen their doors and use 50% of their capacity in accordance with health protocols, he said.
But that is not enough, he added.
He considered that reopening the borders will create a new dynamic in the sector, stressing that recovery requires restoring all destinations, attracting at least 3 million tourists annually.
Passengers face difficulties in finding seats on flights provided by Tunisian and Algerian airlines due to the intensity of movement between Tunisia and Algeria.
The revenues of the Tunisian tourism sector recorded in 2021 an increase of 7.7% compared to 2020, according to data from the Central Bank of Tunisia.
The revenues of the tourism industry until last December 20 amounted to 2.1 billion dinars, or about $724 million. Arrivals to Tunisia increased by 14.5% to more than 2.1 million tourists, up from about 1.84 million in 2020. This is an increase of 23% for arrivals and 30% for hotel nights.