The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Tunisian government have signed a partnership agreement under which UNWTO will support the country’s tourism development.
Policy guidance, marketing, and training for the tourism workforce are among the planned areas of cooperation.
The Minister of Tourism of Tunisia, Mehdi Houas, highlighted the importance of the support of the international community to Tunis and particularly to tourism in Tunisia at this time: “Tourism in Tunisia is fully operational and open for business, and we need the support of the international community to communicate this reality. This agreement is an important step towards the reinforcement of tourism in Tunisia in key areas such as marketing, quality, and human resource development.”
UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said the partnership would contribute to help accelerate the return of international tourists to Tunisia in the short-term, where tourism represents nearly 7% of the country’s GDP and accounts for 450,000 jobs, and in the medium-term, would support the improved competitiveness of the destination.
“International tourists are gradually returning to Tunisia,” said Mr. Rifai at the signing of the agreement, “As they do so, UNWTO will be providing Tunisia with technical support and assistance to sustainably reinforce this tourism recovery, one of the country’s principal sources of income, jobs, and development.”
Under the agreement signed by Mr. Rifai and Mr. Houas, UNWTO will provide Tunisia with up-to-date market intelligence on tourism movements and trends, as well as guidance on tourism policy. Local officials will be trained on the latest marketing tools and strategies available to reposition Tunisia among the world’s leading destinations. UNWTO will also asses the country’s tourism education and training needs, linking Tunisian tourism institutions with UNWTO-certified universities around the world.
UNWTO and the Tunisian government further agreed to organize a regional conference in Djerba on competitiveness and sustainability criteria for tourism destinations and a UNWTO training workshop on quality and classification systems of tourism accommodation units.
In 2010, Tunisia received nearly 7 million international tourist arrivals, generating nearly US$3 billion in export revenues. During the first 3 months of 2011, international tourist arrivals decreased by 44% and receipts by 43%.