COVID-19 IMPACT: Major Damage to Tunisian Economy

Tunisia Security Update

Your #1 Source for Travel & Security News IMPACTING Tunisia.


Article Analysis:

Coronavirus may cause 400,000 travel-related job losses in Tunisia”-Published date: 15 April 2020 

Tunisia forecasts $1.4bn-loss in revenue in tourism sector over Coronavirus pandemic

3-Quick Key INSIGHTS:

  • Estimates project Tunisian economy will lose $1.4bn tourism revenue.

  • Tunisia has recorded a total of 747 cases of the virus and 34.

  • To mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic, Tunisia is seeking to secure a loan up to $877m (Source:  North African Post)

  • Visit Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page for more UPDATES.


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What’s going ON?

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated Tunisia’s tourism industry, with the vital sector expected to see 400,000 people lose their jobs this year and $1.4bn in lost revenue.

Like many countries across the globe, Tunisia has been under lockdown for weeks, with most residents only leaving their homes for exercise, grocery shopping and pharmacy runs.

 

Economic Challenges Ahead…

But as the second-biggest contributor to the country’s economy after agriculture, the tourism industry has almost completely shut down. Restaurants have closed, as have hotels and land borders, and international flights have been banned.

Tourist arrivals fell from over 7 million in 2010 to 5 million by 2015. But the number of visitors rose to 8.3 million in 2018, a 17 percent increase from 2017

Tourist arrivals fell from over 7 million in 2010 to 5 million by 2015. But the number of visitors rose to 8.3 million in 2018, a 17 percent increase from 2017

Now, under the pandemic, that number is expected to plummet.

Tunisia has recorded a total of 747 cases of the virus and 34 coronavirus-related deaths. So far, 43 people have recovered from the infection.

Tunisia’s number of cases falls well below neighbouring Algeria, which has reported 2,160 cases and 336 deaths, highlighting the need to ban tourism in order to slow the spread, as tourists from Algeria, Russia and the EU make up a large portion of the country’s yearly visitors.

Security Bottom Line

In a report released on Wednesday, the IMF said in general, economies across the Middle East and North Africa are expected to shrink by 3.3 percent during 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time for Tunisia.  Having just completed a complicated election cycle, the country was looking forward to a much needed successful tourism season.

At the time of this writing both the U.S. and UK embassies advises against all but essential international travel.


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Tunisia gets READY to elect new President

Quick Summary: The presidential run-off election to take place on Sunday, October 13th is between Nabil Karoui, a perceived liberal and populist media mogul who was released from jail four days before the election and Kais Saïed, a perceived conservative who is a professor specialised in constitutional law. Most did not see either candidate coming.

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Tunisia Presidential Election recap:

  • Karoui took 15.6% of the vote in the first round of the election three weeks ago, while retired law professor Saied came first with 18.4%.

 


Tunisia Security Update

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Tunisians head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president, in an election some voters are calling a “catastrophe”.

The presidential run-off is between Nabil Karoui, a perceived liberal and populist media mogul who was released from jail four days before the election and Kais Saïed, a perceived conservative who is a professor specialised in constitutional law. Most did not see either candidate coming.

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The two men, ranked as outsiders, saw off 24 other candidates in the first round of voting last month. Mr Saied took 18.4% of the vote, while Mr Karoui, who is the head of the Qalb Tounes party, received 15.6%.


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SECURITY Bottom Line:

Tunisia has a come a long way the 2011 “Arab Spring” still, Sunday’s election highlights the cracks in the young democracy’s path to economic stability.

Regardless of the outcome; Tunisia will continue to experience socioeconomic challenges that will test both the new President and newly elected parliament.



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3 Key Facts about Tunisia’s Parliament Elections

Quick Summary: Tunisians will elect a new parliament on Sunday, and all indications point to heavy losses for establishment parties. Young, independent candidates could reap the benefits.

Tunisia Parliamentary Elections at a glance:

  • More than 15,000 candidates on 1,500 lists are contesting 217 seats in a parliament dominated by the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha in alliance with centrist party Nidaa Tounes

Assembling a government will be a Challenge

Although political polling is prohibited during campaigning, most signs suggest that no one party or group will win a clear majority in parliament.

Even the task of assembling a governing coalition of two or three parties could be a daunting task considering the fact that a number of small groups and independent members with little or no political experience may populate the body

With major political parties such as Ennahdha and Qalb Tounes refusing to enter a coalition government with one another; analysts warn of yet another political crisis.


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3 Key Facts About Tunisia’s Parliament Elections:

  1. 220 registered political parties, but only 10 of them are fielding candidates in all 33 districts.
  2. A 2019 survey by the International Republican Institute found that 70 percent of the population distrusted political parties

3. Presidential runoff will be held one week after Sunday’s parliamentary election.

SECURITY Bottom Line:

Many Tunisians hope that their presidential vote sent a powerful message to the political elites and that it would revive the promises of the 2011 revolution.

Given the socio-economic challenges that Tunisia is facing; it may be too much to hope for.

For more information on this development: Aljazeera: Tunisia’s parliamentary elections at a glance



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UK and Tunisia sign continuity agreement

Quick Summary: The UK government signed a trade and political continuity agreement with Tunisia in London on October 4, 2019.

Agreement will ensure British businesses and consumers benefit from continued access to the Tunisian market after we leave the EU.

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The British Ambassador to Tunisia Louise De Sousa signed the agreement with the Tunisian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Nabil Ben Khedher.

UK & Tunisia Partnership at a glance:

  • Trade between the UK and Tunisia was worth £378 million in 2018.
  • The UK has now secured trade with countries accounting for £100 billion.
  • The agreement will ensure British businesses and consumers benefit from continued access to the market after we leave the EU.

Security Challenges strengthen the relationship…

Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, which targeted tourists, the UK government has been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups. The Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts.

Even with all the security coordination and cooperation on the ground the UK FCO continues to advise it’s citizens that due to the state of emergency that is still in place and recent security incidents; they MUST stay informed and practice good security awareness.


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Bottom Line:

The Agreement will ensure British businesses and consumers benefit from continued trade with Tunisia after we leave the European Union. It provides, among other trade benefits, tariff-free trade of industrial products together with liberation of trade in agricultural, agri-food and fisheries products.

For more information on this development:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-tunisia-sign-continuity-agreement



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Tunisia sets presidential election for September 15

Originally scheduled for November, the vote was brought forward following President Beji Caid Essebsi’s death. “-Source: Aljazeera

Key Points

  • The Campaigning period will be from September 2 to 13
  • The presidential race was originally scheduled for November, but the vote was brought forward following Essebsi’s death on July 25
The presidential race was originally scheduled for November, but the vote was brought forward following Essebsi’s death on July 25

Tunisia Election is SET!

Tunisia‘s presidential election will be held on September 15, the North African country’s electoral body has announced, rejecting calls to postpone the vote after the death of ailing leader Beji Caid Essebsi.

The campaigning period will be from September 2 to 13, and the results of the vote will be announced two days after the polls, he said.

Tunisia Remains a Target

Tunisia remains a fragile democracy in a region surrounded by challenges. The elections are critical for Tunisians in consolidating their democratic process.

As an estimated 6.7 million Tunisian voters prepare to head to the polls to elect their next government later this year, a growing fear of terrorist attacks could risk undermining the democratic process in the North African country, some analysts warn.

Recent example:  Two suicide attackers blew themselves up in two separate bombings against police in the capital Tunis on June 27, leaving at least one police officer dead and injuring eight people. A third bombing occurred on July 2 after a militant surrounded by police blew himself up.


@DavidSecurity shares information on the Security Situation in Tunisia for the purposes of empowering companies operating in Tunisia as well as expats & travelers.

Tunisia tourism is booming but…

“Tunisia’s tourism revenues soared 42.5% in the first half of 2019 to $692 million compared to the same period last year, official figures showed on Monday.”-Source:  Reuters

Key Points:

  • Tunisia’s tourism by the numbers
  • Security Challenges ahead
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Tunisia Tourism

The number of tourists rose 17 percent in the first half of this year to 3.8 million compared to the same period in 2018.

Major European tour operators started to return last year, after three years of shunning Tunisia following an attack on a beach in Sousse that killed 39 tourists and a separate attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis that killed 21.

The number of tourists jumped to 8.3 million last year.

Tourism accounts for 8 percent of Tunisia’s gross domestic product.

Security Challenges Ahead

As an estimated 6.7 million Tunisian voters prepare to head to the polls to elect their next government later this year, a growing fear of terrorist attacks could risk undermining the democratic process in the North African country, some analysts warn.

Recent example:  Two suicide attackers blew themselves up in two separate bombings against police in the capital Tunis on June 27, leaving at least one police officer dead and injuring eight people. A third bombing occurred on July 2 after a militant surrounded by police blew himself up.

Best Summary of the situation:

“The future of the country – and hope for the Arab Spring – is very much tied to the 2019 elections. These elections will be the second democratic presidential and parliamentary elections for the country, provided the state of emergency is lifted to facilitate them. The sad reality of politics is that it is hard to buy into a democracy until the party that assumes power in the transition loses an election and hands over power*. That said, a greater reality in politics is that if there is no election (due to the state of emergency or a related matter), citizens lose all faith in the country’s institutions. A death of faith here would ultimately be the death of the Arab Spring.”- The African Report


@DavidSecurity shares information on the Security Situation in Tunisia for the purposes of empowering companies operating in Tunisia as well as expats & travelers.

3 Reasons Why UK tourist numbers are UP in Tunisia…

@DavidSecurity here with the Tunisia Security Update.

And today we’re looking at this headline:  UK tourist numbers to Tunisia show signs of recovery

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The first signs of recovery in UK tourism to Tunisia following the 2015 terrorist attack in Sousse have emerged.  A new study of data from the Office for National Statistics revealed a 537% year-on-year rise to 19,000 visits in the first quarter of 2018.

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The North African country saw the biggest increase in visitors from the UK of any country in the world, albeit numbers were still low.

Visit The Tunisia Security Update

@DavidSecurity’s Perspective

So what has helped Tunisia improve their security image and thereby attract more UK tourists.  

Here are 3 key factors:

  1. Effective Tunisian Security Response:  Since the 2015 Sousse attack Tunisia (knock on wood) has NOT experienced a major attack.  More importantly Tunisian security forces have on many occasions demonstrated their effectiveness by foiling plots, disrupting cells and improving their overall security image.  
  2. FCO UK relaxed Travel Warning/Advice:  The advise went from … warning against all but essential travel to the country to deeming the majority of the country safe for travel
  3. Improved Hotel Security:  Several news reports have showcased Tunisia’s new and improved security setups at several of the major hotels.  Some of the improvements include better cooperation with local police, armed security presence, better screening and trained staff.  

The bottom line is that Tunisia has earned the right for tourists to once again see it as a prime vacation destination.  Still I agree with the US State Department’s rating of Tunisia as a Tier 2 because of the wild cards that neighboring Libya and local militants present.  

We would love to hear from you if you’ve recently visited Tunisia and how you felt about the security situation on the ground.  

@DavidSecurity here and we’re out!


Curated by @DavidSecurity (Recognized Presenter with more than 15 years experience on Workplace Security Awareness & Travel Security.) For Inquires Email: security@expatous.net

 

Tunisia had a successful summer season…

As several media outlets publish pictures of “eerie abandoned hotels”…Tunisia hopes to continue making posting tourism gains.


Tunisia’s Tourism Revenues Grow 42% in 7 Months

The Tunisian Tourism Ministry said that 4.4 million foreign tourists visited the country from January 1 through July 31 this year, up 23% compared with the same period in 2017.

The minister added that revenues from the tourism sector reached 1.7 billion Tunisian dinars (about 554 million euros), up 42% on the same period last year.

Visit The Tunisia Security Update

According to the minister’s estimate, at the end of the year, a total of over 8 million tourists will visit Tunisia. A reported 7 million visited in 2017 and 6 million in 2016.

The tourism sector in Tunisia is in progress towards rebalancing.

Media Posts Negative Pictures…

Recently, several media outlets including The Sun, Daily Mail, Mirror and others have published pictures showcasing some Tunisian hotels that went out of business after the 2015, Sousse attack.

Here are a few examples:  

Swimming pools are now filled with dust, but used to be packed with tourists sunbathing IMAGE: CATERS NEWS AGENCY

An empty indoor pool. Picture: Bob Thissen/Caters News AgencySource:Caters News Agency

Tunisia has come a long way since the 2015 Sousse attacks! 


@DavidSecurity’s Perspective…

Tunisian tourism was strongly affected by terrorist operations in 2015, in which a tourist hotel was attacked in Sousse (west the Tunisian capital) leading to the death of 22 foreign tourists.

Tunisian Security Forces have proven effective and their efforts have paid off in many ways.  Most importantly is their ability to foil plots that have prevented other incidents from taking place in the country.

This relative peace & stability has enabled other countries to either remove or relax their travel warnings/advise thus essentially providing foreigners a “green light” to visit.


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TS Update-(New Site Subscribe Today)

Greetings Expats,

Since my return to Tunis on Friday I’ve been amazed at the amount of information coming our way here at the Tunisia Security Update blog.  On that note I would like to say thank you to all the expats and Tunisians that support us with insightful information.  

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Blog Update  

We’ve updated the blog and moved it to a self hosted site.  It’s the same domain (www.tunisiasecurityupdate.com) but we weren’t able to transfer all of our subscribers (over 2k!).    

If you would like to receive these updates directly into your email inbox please visit the new website and click on the subscribe button.  Simply enter your email and presto you will receive free security updates which you can view on any electronic device.  

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Challenges & Opportunities 

Since 2011 the purpose of the this blog was to empower expats with practical & relevant security information.  The security situation in Tunisia remains challenging but with the right setup and network we will continue to thrive in this beautiful country.

Please check out the blog homepage, subscribe and let me know what you think.

TS Update-(Summer Challenges & Beyond)

Greetings Expats,

As we stated in our previous postings, the threat level in Tunisia has increased and the month of Ramadan is proving to be very challenging for Tunisians.  This is a great time for us to review what happened and look beyond.

What’s going on? 

At least 14 Tunisian soldiers were killed when gunmen with rocket-propelled grenade attacked two checkpoints in the Chaambi mountain range.

Tunisian government stated that the attackers are tied to Al-Qaeda’s North Africa wing, known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Minster of Interior Mr. Ben Jeddou stated that since the start of Ramadan they’ve foiled six terrorist operations in  Tunisia.

Short Term=Tourism hit

Mount Chaambi is a war zone so it is very likely that similar incidents will take place.  On a broader level, the last couple of days have been a public relations nightmare for Tunisian tourism.  The Brits took the lead by warning its citizens of a “high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.”

Specifically, the FCO advises against:  “all but essential travel to areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Medenine and Zarzisj, and to within 30km of the border with Algeria from south of the town of Ghardinaou.”

To put it bluntly, this really sucks for Tunisia especially since the number of British visitors to Tunisia reached a new record last year with more than 400,000 visitors.

Long Term=Great Security Challenge 

Here are my top 3 reasons why I think we (Tunisians & Expat Community) have great security challenges ahead:

  1. Parliamentary elections (currently) scheduled to take place on October 26th & Presidential elections on November 23rd
  2. Current situation in Libya
  3. Social-Economic challenges in Tunisia

And as if these weren’t challenging enough we also have to look at even more alarming developments such as “reports indicating the return of Libyan jihadists and others from Tunisia to their countries to create branches of ISIS in North Africa.”

Expat Deep Breath 

Since 2011 we’ve seen how resilient, peaceful, and kind Tunisians are.  We certainly hope for the best for Tunisia but as expats we have to focus on ensuring that our personal security matches or exceeds the threat level.

With the right setup, mindset, and network we can continue to live & thrive in beautiful Tunisia.  This is true for both tourists & expats.

Let’s stay connected…