The electronic visa is expected to enter into force in late 2017 or early 2018 in order to develop tourism flows and further facilitate the process of obtaining visas for all nationalities, said Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts Salma Elloumi Rekik.
She said that the National Commission, set up for this purpose, is studying this project which was initiated by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs, she added in a debate on “health tourism in Tunisia, opportunities and challenges” organised Friday, by Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce (TBCC), and the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia (AmCham).
According to the official, the objective is also to promote the entry, especially that of the African patients who are among the main applicants of the Tunisian medical care.
In this context, she recalled that the niche of thalassotherapy has placed Tunisia second after France in this field.
Besides, she stressed that it was necessary to give a different perception of the Tunisian tourism product, given that the country had several assets which ensured the success of this sector, in particular competence, thalassotherapy centres, Cosmetic, ophthalmic and cardiovascular surgery of international renown and confirmed thermal springs, in addition to a value for money and competitive services.
The demands on the quality of services are becoming more and more important and the service provider must be constantly in step with the evolutions and needs of the consumer, she said.
In this regard, the Minister referred to the recent publication by the departments of tourism and health of a policy note on the reception of tourists in order to promote the sector.
She added that the Ministry of Tourism has also begun a review of the certification of thalassotherapy centres. This new certification guarantees a better quality, strengthens the credibility of the sector, will encourage respect for partners and reassure consumers, she said.
Mehdi Ben Abdallah, president of the Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce (TBCC), stressed the importance of the electronic visa that will facilitate access for foreign patients in Tunisia.
Today, patients from certain countries, especially in Africa, have to go first to another country with a Tunisian consulate before coming to Tunisia to obtain their visa and then go home to prepare before visiting Tunisia.
The competitive advantage of prices that Tunisia has, in relation to the cost, is lost in this case, because people will spend three times more with these trips to obtain the visa.