Tunisian town included in “10 most dangerous tourist attractions” in Africa!??

Small town in friendly Tunisia made the “10 Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions” in Africa list?? Let’s talk SECURITY!

 @DavidSecurity here once again keeping you up to date on the latest Travel Security Updates on everything from travel warnings to personal security awareness.

 I recently came across an article with the catchy headline Top 10 most dangerous tourist attractions in Africa.  As an expat that lived for over 10 years in North Africa, I have to say that the headline grabbed my attention. 

Breaking down the Top 10 List-VIDEO

Top 10 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in Africa…

Danakil desert, Ethopia

The article written by Adaobi Onyeakagbu was very descriptive and informative. I loved the 1st question:

Is a good adventure story worth risking your life? Let’s leave you to decide from a list of beautiful tourist attractions in Africa that can actually kill you.

The question was powerful and it immediately grabbed my attention. You see as a security professional, I believe that with the right mindset, awareness, and set up virtually NO PLACE is off-limits to tourists.

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“They don’t call it the Devil’s Pool for no reason! This naturally formed rock pool is located at the very edge of the majestic Victoria Falls on the Zambia side (the other side of the falls is in Zimbabwe). Some tourists are daring enough to swim in it. Some go even further and dangle their legs off the side.

Swimming can only take place between September and December when a natural rock barrier forms, but it is still extremely dangerous. Several people have plunged to their death from the Devil’s Pool, including one famous tour guide, who managed to save one of his charges who had started to fall. Unfortunately, he slipped during the rescue and lost his own life instead. You can marvel at the beauty of Victoria Falls without risking your life, so why not do that?”

How did Tunisia Make the List?

 I was literally shocked when I came across the 8th so-called most dangerous place in Africa.  8. Tatooine, Tunisia.

According to the Article:

8. Tataouine, Tunisia

This one is for all the Star Wars fans out there planning a visit to Tunisia. You may be familiar with Tataouine as the fictional village of Tatooine in George Lucas’s Star Wars films. The Skywalker farm buildings were left there after filming and have since attracted thousands of Star Wars fans to the area.

Unfortunately, it appears that the region is no longer safe for tourists to visit, so you may have to put your tour on hold for now. Recent terrorist activity in nearby Libya has made the area of Tataouine unstable, as it is in the path of traveling jihadists hoping to join infamous terrorist group, ISIS. Tourists have already perished in Tunisia, after an attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis left 19 dead. Best to leave it until there’s no further risk of attacks, we think.

Tataouine is UNIQUE!

Anybody that’s ever been to Tataouine, Tunisia know 3 facts about the sleepy town:It’s quite literally in the middle of NO WHERE!

1. It is literally in the middle of nowhere!

Tataouine is the southernmost of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia, the only one to border both Algeria and Libya (a geographical fact that makes people think it is “dangerous”). While it has a population of 149,453 you wouldn’t know it if you visited town as it is as lay back as you can get.

2. The star wars set are…shall we say aged…

Tataouine is the town that inspired George Lucas to name his fictional desert planet Tatooine. The sets are visible in the desert nearly four decades after the first film was filmed! Although there’ve been several attempts to revive the area the sets have to face the harsh sand dunes.

3. The locals are very welcoming…

During your trip to Tataouine, you’ll notice the breathtaking desert landscapes, colorful markets and of course friendly people.

Tataouine is NOT “Dangerous”…

Now I know that it’s true that the region is facing challenges especially in nearby Libya but still I know that there are 100 other places more “DANERGOUS” in Africa.  In fact, you’re properly more likely to get pickpocketed in a major Western city then you are to be kidnapped in Tatotourine IF you practice basic security awareness.

Well let me know what you think.  Especially if you’ve ever visited Tatoonie or maybe you clicked on this video because you’re a big start wars fan in which case I say….May be the force be with you!




Did Tunisia reopen too soon?

Key Points:
-Tunisia declared VICTORY over the pandemic on June 15th.
-Since then Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted.


On June 15th 2020 Tunisia’s prime minster held a press conference to declare victory over the pandemic.

The former prime minster stated that his country had achieved a victory against the novel virus and pointed to the convincing statistic that Tunisia had no NEW CASES to report.

“We came out of this crisis with really important health consequences and the least damage,” he said.

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh

Fakhfakh made the statement on a local TV channel, saying Tunisians should be proud of themselves for beating the virus.

“We came out of this crisis with really important health consequences and the least damage,” he said.

He noted that the country would reopen its borders on June 27.

Rush to Reopen…

For tour operators and the hospitality sector in Tunisia, March through June is typically one of the busiest times of the year.

On top of this: “2020 was set up to be our best year in terms of sales and numbers of tours, and even size of tours. We had big group tours coming,” said Joshua Mok, who works at Mosaic North Africa, a Canadian company that offers private tours in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. “

Naturally, the local economy was eager to restart the economy.

Tunisia reopened with a color-coded system to show which countries may enter without restrictions as the government attempts to revitalize tourism, a key sector for the country’s flailing economy.

Tunisia’s color-coded system…

The government of Tunisia divided countries into three zones (red, orange, and green) based on the number of cases and epidemiological situation in each country.  While they continue to revise the list as the pandemic evolves here’s a quick breakdown: 

·         “Red List” Countries (including the United States):  for citizens and official residents of “red” countries, only Tunisians may enter Tunisia. 

·         “Orange List” Countries:  for citizens and official residents of “orange” countries, Tunisians and tourists may enter Tunisia providing they present a negative COVID-19 lab test, with results received within 72 hours before travel to Tunisia and the analysis conducted no more than 120 hours prior to arrival.

·         “Green List” Countries:  for citizens and official residents of “green” countries, everyone may enter Tunisia without a test. 

In addition to the testing requirement, all individuals, regardless of nationality, are required to quarantine upon arrival, with Tunisians in mandatory self-quarantine at their homes and tourists in a seven-day quarantine at a hotel at their own expense.  Tourists remaining past seven days may pay for a COVID-19 test the sixth day and, if negative, may leave the hotel.

Confused travelers…

Citizens of the UK interested in traveling to Tunisia were very confused. Within a matter of 30-days they went from Orange to Green…back to Orange…and quite possibly back to Green in the coming days.

UK FCO Travel to Tunisia Guidelines

  • The UK is classified as an “Orange” country. This means that visitors from the UK wishing to travel to Tunisia must take a PCR test (which detects the presence of the virus) 72 hours before they travel. From the 26 August, all visitors to Tunisia, regardless of where they fly from, must take a PCR test 72 hours before they travel.
  • You must show evidence of your negative test result at the airport when you arrive in Tunisia.
  • Upon arrival in Tunisia you must self-isolate at your hotel or place of residence for 14 days.
  • If you wish to pay for an additional PCR test after seven days of self-isolation, you can do so at your own expense. If the result of this second test is negative you will be permitted to end your quarantine early.
  • Upon entry you must sign a declaration to confirm that you will abide by these rules.
  • The Tunisian authorities are updating country classifications regularly so please ensure you check these pages for the latest status before travelling.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel. (UPDATED on August 21, 2020)

Did Tunisia reopen too soon?

Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted, in addition to six deaths.

The horizontal growth of cases pushed the country to reconsider the “VICTORY” label and restart the battle against the pandemic across the country.

The Director of Tunisia’s National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases warned that the epidemiological situation in the country is “critical” after an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections.

So did Tunisia reopen too soon? It appears they did. This could be a result of several factors including increase travelers, increase testing, and increase social activities (wedding season) throughout the country.

Tunisia showed the world the 1st time around that they were more than capable of handling this pandemic. Let’s hope they use that experience to put balance measures in place so that that they can once again claim “victory”.

Can Brits travel to Tunisia?

Summary VIDEO: Can UK residents Travel to Tunisia?


Can UK residents travel to Tunisia?

According to the Foreign Office, all but essential travel is advised for the entire country, excluding a number of regions where all travel is banned.

The border with Libya is advised against, along with the Chaambi Mountains National Park.

Holiday hotspots including Hammamet, Sousse and Monastir remain off the list.

It is also not included on the air bridge list, meaning Brits can face a two-week quarantine when returning to the UK from Tunisia.

The travel ban means Brits won’t be protected by insurance if something happens abroad.

Will you have to quarantine when entering Tunisia?

Despite this, Tunisia is allowing UK tourists to enter the country with no restrictions.

This means no rules or testing before departing or self-isolation on arrival.

The UK is on the green list meaning it is considered a safe country – countries on the orange or red list face additional testing and quarantine.

However, the UK Foreign Office warns: “The Tunisian authorities are updating country classifications regularly so please ensure you check these pages for the latest status before travelling.”

Are flights to Tunisia running?

Charter flights to Tunisia have resumed from today from some European locations – commercial airlines are yet to resume a normal schedule from the UK.

Air, land and sea borders resumed from June 27 from a number of countries, the Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Ali Toumi, confirmed.

Transport Minister Anouar Maârouf added: “We’re in discussions with all the countries we had direct flights with and talks are ongoing.”

Holidaymakers from France, Germany and Luxembourg returned earlier this week – Brits are yet to.

Tunisian Security forces capture ‘terror’ cell planning attacks

Article Key Points:

  • 5-member cell was planning attacks against security headquarters and patrols
  • The threat remains focused on state targets.
  • No travel alerts were issued by the USA & UK regarding this incident.

Tunisia security forces arrested a terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks in the country, according to the Interior Ministry on Wednesday.

A ministry statement said the 5-member cell was planning attacks on security headquarters and patrols.

Stakes are HIGH as Tunisia Welcomes back tourists…

Tourists are back on Tunisia’s beaches after charter flights resumed to the North African country following a break of more than three months.

According to the ministry, some of the cell’s members had attempted to join militants holed up in the mountains for training on making explosives.

In April, Tunisian security forces arrested a terror group for planning to target security and other vital installations in the country.

In May, the authorities said a Daesh/ISIS militant was arrested.

Tunisia suffered a number of terrorist attacks since 2013 that claimed the lives of scores of security and military personnel and foreign tourists.- Source: Anadolu Agency


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Traveling to Tunisia from the UK in 2020

Posted on July 8, 2020 Edited & Updated on July 9, 2020

Important UPDATE: During the evening of July 8, 2020 the Tunisian authorities changed the UK status from Orange to Green.


Since Tunisia officially reopened its borders on June 27, 2020 I’ve received so many questions from my followers at the Tunisia Security Update.

Here’s an example of a recent question:

“Hello, my friend is hoping to travel to Tunisia to be at his sisters engagement in a few months. What is the requirements for when he lands there does he have to go in Quarantine for a few days or is it safe for him to go right to his family’s home?  Thanks for your answer.”

After replying to quite a few similar questions I thought I should just write a blog post for all my British followers. Hopefully the information will also help out all travelers wanting to know what Tunisia’s COVID19 travel requirements.

A woman wearing mask and gloves as a precautionary measure to avoid contracting coronavirus work at Tunisia Airport in Tunis, Tunisia February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi – RC2IAF9TO130

Tunisia Entry requirements for British Citizens

Before going into the entry requirements let’s take a moment to give credit where credit is due.

Tunisia received international praise for their COVID-19 response. After three months of closure, Tunisia began easing its lockdown on 13 May. Tunisia now reports very few instances of COVID-19, with a total of 1,110 cases and 49 deaths for its 11 million citizens. 

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said the country recorded among the lowest mortality rate from COVID-19 in the world “with four deaths per million inhabitants.”

 The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) also recognized Tunisia’s successful response and awarded them the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, designed the Safe Travels stamp to enable travellers to identify destinations and businesses around the world which adopted its health and hygiene global standardised protocols.

Entry requirements

It is important to note that the Tunisian authorities are constantly evaluating the situation and making changes as needed. As a best practice, travelers should always look to their respective embassy for travel guidance and make their own decisions.

British tourists have their photo taken after arriving to Tunisia with the Thomas Cook travel agency at the Enfidha Airport in Enfidha, Tunisia February 14, 2019 (Reuters)

Tunisia has implemented a color-coded system to show which countries may enter without restrictions and which countries can enter with enhanced restrictions.

  • Green= Welcome to Tunisia. NO Restrictions. Enjoy your holidays!
  • Orange= Welcome to Tunisia. Comply with the safety protocol. Enjoy your holidays!

The UK is currently classified as an “Orange”country changed to GREEN on the evening of July 8, 2020 by the Ministry of Health .

As of July 8, 2020 here are the COVID-19 entry options:

  1. Take a coronavirus PCR test 72 hours before departure and provide the negative results upon arrival. OR
  2. Self-isolating in your place of residence or a hotel at your own expense for 14 days.

Additionally, if British citizens want to shorten the self-isolation, they may do so from the sixth day after arrival, by paying for a PCR test and receiving a negative result in Tunisia.

Know before you go!

The world agrees that Tunisia’s response to the pandemic was effective. Regardless, travelers must ensure that they conduct their own research and take necessary measures before traveling. In order to accomplish this INFORMATION is essential Here are (3) good sources to obtain the latest information:

I hope this information helps. Feel free to reach out if I can be of any assistance. For companies operating in Tunisia learn how you can obtain reliable & actionable security information to address your risk management concerns.


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.


Security Support

If you’re operating in Tunisia find out how you can have access to reliable security information & support.

 

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%.

 


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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.