Does Tunisia’s tourism still have a future?

Orders from foreign TOs are forcing Tunisian hoteliers to further reduce rates at the expense of the quality of service offered to tourists. More than 350 hotels have recently gone bankrupt due to this policy. Unfortunately, we are now paying for this cheap tourism, artificially boosted by state subsidies for agri-food. This must be lifted under a new financing agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The horizon is getting darker. You have to react in time and get out of the box.

To Habib Grenza *

Having lived in Poland for many years, on my last visit to Tunisia in 2018, Kapitalis noted that the hotel linen was of very poor quality and the washing method was not in compliance with international standards, especially antiseptics and preservatives. I blamed it on the page of Antiviral processing material.

I also raised the issue of foreign TO mandates to push Tunisian tourism officials for further price cuts.

Nothing has changed from 2018 to 2022? All of this led to the bankruptcy of more than 350 more hotel units and the dramatic financial situation of others.

Our managers (Tunisian Hotel Federation, FTH, Tunisian National Tourism Board, ONTT, Ministry of Tourism, MT) still understand that the most important thing for a hotel is the quality of service and not just attractive room rates. not. .

Foreign client paying just €450 for a week’s stay all inclusiveEquivalent to a 2-3 night stay with breakfast in a mid-range European hotel.

As a result, the sale of prices will only benefit foreign TOs who can make a profit, and Tunisian hoteliers will find better services, proper maintenance of the aging infrastructure, kitchen and laundry facilities. Makes it impossible to provide updates for rooms etc.

Conclusion “Cheap” tourism is not profitable.

The future of devalued tourism?

In the early 1960s, the Tunisian state spent a fortune to build a tourism sector with good hotel infrastructure such as hotels, roads, highways and airports. Moreover, the sector has failed to keep its promises to banks, the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and the Ministry of Finance, using the umbrella of Presidents Bourguiba and Ben Ali. As a result, his two development banks, BDET and BNDT, went bankrupt.

Tourism thus constructed to the detriment of other sectors, including agriculture, has a capacity of over 250,000 beds, receives 20 million tourists a year and generates over 30 million Tunisian dinars. (DT, , in the best case, only 9 million tourists in 2019 and revenues of 7 million dinars! Taking into account the difference in the value of the euro, revenues in 2010 were much more Good thing to remember: (1.5 DT) in 2010 vs. (3.5 DT) in 2019.

Compared to the revenues of the region’s direct competitors (Morocco, Turkey and Egypt), Tunisia’s revenues are below the expectations of hoteliers and the tourism sector in general.

There are many reasons for this poor performance, but the three main reasons continue to be lower prices, poor quality of service provided, and lack of quality and quantity training.

When I chaired the National Chamber of Laundry Dry Cleaners, I realized something. That’s the significance of the Sidi Drif Institute for Advanced Tourism (IHETSD) focusing more on catering than laundry. In fact, Sidi Dhrif trained catering managers, but laundry training was limited to laundry dress training.

That a 500 bed laundry room in a 5 star hotel is managed by incompetent people who have no idea that 800 MDT of linen must be maintained without considering the value of all the laundry facilities. it is clear. 1,000 MDT. Laundry in some modern hotels costs over 5,000 MDT.

Today, more than ever, laundry room management requires advanced training in several technical and scientific disciplines, including chemistry, mechanics, electromechanics, and electronics. Don’t you think a tailor trained in Sidi Drif can manage a laundry room? At the moment the training you provide is patchy and poor.

What can be done to make the sector more profitable?

The crisis rocking the Tunisian hotel industry and tourism in general dates back to 2011, long before the coronavirus pandemic. Moving from passivity to positivity is essential to save the sector from total bankruptcy. My remarks are addressed to FTH President Dora Milad.

– Do not rely too much solely on the support of the Tunisian state, which has done a lot for this sector that provides foreign exchange and labor. Unfortunately, the sector has not benefited from state support . Now, in this time of crisis, we no longer have the financial means. The FTH and the Tunisian Federation of Travel and Tourism Authorities (FTAV) must instead rely on their members and all the professionals who live abroad and who are following developments in the tourism sector very closely.

– Against price cuts and dictatorships of foreign TOs;

– Improved training to improve the quality of services provided.

– Accelerate the implementation of the Open Skies Agreement signed with the European Union (EU). Especially since neither Tunisian Airlines nor Air Liberté can provide transportation for all tourists coming to Tunisia for their holidays. For example, Turkish Airlines, due to the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation, has decided to travel to Russia for the transportation of 1.5 million Russian tourists (1,500 trips), which no other European company has been able to fulfill. Tunisia has missed a golden opportunity due to lack of resilience due to lack of resources.

Mrs. Milad, you are in a very difficult situation, but you are not completely compromised. I am confident that you and your colleagues will succeed in pulling the Tunisian tourism sector out of her decade of stagnation. But in a world where everything is changing so quickly, we must stop purring and venture off the beaten path.

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