Interview: Improvement of security in Tunisia helps tourism rebound

Tunisia has seen improvement in the security situation this year, which has greatly helped the tourism rebound, a senior official told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Leila Tekaia, manager of public relations and communication of Tunisian National Tourism Office (ONTT), said Tunisia has confidence in its current security situation.

“Everything is truly under perfect control now. Efforts have been made in recruiting security agencies, as well as in training and supervising them. Cameras with 24-hour surveillance have been set in tourist resorts, even in the outside archeological sites,” she added.

With a history of 3,000 years, Tunisia is rich in tourism resources. However, tourism in the North African country was damaged by three bloody attacks in 2015 which left more than 70 people killed, most of them foreigners.

Some European countries issued warnings for their citizens against traveling to Tunisia.

The attacks caused a heavy blow to Tunisia’s tourism sector, which accounted for nearly 7 percent of its GDP before 2015.

After years of confrontations against terrorists, the security situation in Tunisia has improved, and helps attract more foreign tourists this year.

Tunisian military and security institutions have made great efforts to ensure the safety of tourism destinations across the country, Tekaia said.

In the first seven months this year, the number of foreign tourists in Tunisia has reached 3.5 million, up nearly 30 percent compared with the same period of 2016, according to the ONTT.

Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Britain have lifted travel restrictions on Tunisia this year, as the security situation is improved.

It is estimated that the number of European tourists in Tunisia will reach 2 million this year, a 30-percent increase year on year, Tekaia said.

“The environment now is so secure and the security also comes from our Tunisian people. We love festivities, and we love going out with our families and friends, such as enjoying the restaurants and cafes,” she said.

“The Tunisian people themselves are also the best way of securing tourists’ stay and making them feel safe in our country,” she added.


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