As of mid-September, the primary indicators of the tourism sector in Tunisia have displayed strong performance, surpassing the figures recorded during the same period in 2019. This positive trend is expected to continue, and experts predict that the sector will reach record levels by the end of the year. Professionals also suggest that reducing mass tourism can further boost the tourism revenue.
Tunisian summer tourist season was a success, with a surge in Western European visitors resulting in 6.5 million arrivals from January 1 to September 10, 2023. This represents a 60% increase over the same period in 2022.
The number of arrivals during the period was similar to the same time in 2019. This was a record year with 9.43 million visitors before the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure surpassed the total number of tourists visiting the country last year, 6.44 million.
During the same period last year, Tunisia earned 5.4 billion dinars or US$ 1.71 billion, a 40% rise in tourism revenue. Compared to 2019, the country witnessed a 15% increase in revenue. However, despite a rise in tourism receipts, Tunisia is not benefiting much from the tourists' influx. This is due to the country's tourism development model, which focuses on mass seaside tourism with all-inclusive packages.
Tunisia plans to reevaluate its tourism strategy and adopt the one similar to Morocco and Egypt, generating more revenue. In the first half of the current year, Morocco received 6.5 million tourists - the same number as Tunisia between January 1 and September 10, 2023. However, Morocco's tourism revenue was $4.68 billion, 2.73 times higher than Tunisia's.
A paradox exists because Morocco emphasizes quality tourism while Tunisia relies on mass tourism with all-inclusive deals.