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Tunisia: Minister Calls for Strengthening Arab Touristic Integration

Tunisia – The Department of Transport will be working over the coming period to attract more Arab tourists and strengthen inter-Arab tourism, especially as Tunisia has welcomed around 1.854 million Arab tourists out of the 3 million tourists who visited the country at the end of May 2023, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Mohamed Moez Belhassine said on Thursday.

These results are up by 14% compared with the same period in 2019, he said at the opening of the 1st Arab Tourism Media Forum organised in Tunis by the Tourism Department on the theme “The role of the media in the development of inter-Arab tourism”.

Arab tourists account for 53% of the tourists welcomed in 2019 (more than 5 million Arab tourists out of a total of 9.4 million tourists).

Mr Belhassine also expressed the joint will to enhance the attractiveness of Arab tourist destinations and to implement joint action plans with the aim of promoting the integration of Arab tourism.

He called for the development of an Arab network to promote festivals and mixed tourism events taking place in the Arab region, and for agreement on cultural tourism circuits incorporating the historic capitals of Arab countries.

The Minister also stressed the importance of removing obstacles to the development of inter-Arab tourism, particularly those relating to visas, border crossings and the lack of air links between certain Arab countries.

He went on to say that Arab tourists are characterised by a higher level of spending and generally longer stays than foreign tourists, in addition to the fact that they have shown great solidarity during periods of crisis. “During the covid years, 65% of tourists who visited Tunisia came from Arab countries, particularly neighbouring countries”.

In 2019, Tunisian hotel units welcomed 1.3 million Arab tourists, i.e. 20% of the total number of tourists visiting national hotels. Tourist receipts from Arab tourists amounted to 1867 million dinars in 2019 (33% of foreign currency tourist receipts).

Belhassine also pointed out that strengthening inter-Arab tourism will help to improve tourism indicators, boost investment and encourage job creation in Arab countries, taking advantage in particular of the geographical, cultural, historical and religious proximity between the countries in the region.

He added that more than 2.1 million Tunisian tourists visited Arab countries (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, etc.) in 2019.

The Arab Tourism Media Forum aims to highlight the role of the media in the development of the Arab tourism industry and the promotion of tourism destinations in the region.

The first edition of this forum, organised in partnership with the Arab Tourism Organisation and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), is being held alongside the 23rd edition of the Arab Radio and Television Festival, which runs from June 12 to 15 at the City of Culture in Tunis.

Source : Zawya