Published on : Thursday, August 24, 2017
Tunisia’s most important hotspot Bulla Regia has many archaeological sites of Roman times. But Tunisia’s tourism is not flourished.
Bulla Regia in north-west Tunisia is famous for the partially underground Roman houses, which are designed to protect their inhabitants from the sun heat. These archaeological ruins are also home to remarkably well-preserved Roman mosaics.
But these Roman architecture are now not well preserved because there are no tourists influx there. It is because Tunisia was in the list of no-go countries.
The tourism industry of Tunisia has been long struggling to recover following the Arab Spring and ISIL-claimed attacks targeting tourists in 2015.
But in recent months, Tunisia saw the return of visitors, which was even more so after the British foreign office last month removed Tunisia from its list of no-go countries, two years after 30 British holidaymakers and eight other foreigners were killed by a gunman in the resort of Port El Kantaoui, just north of Sousse.
Unfortunately for sites like Bulla Regia, however, Tunisia seems to be rushing back to its decades-old model of beach tourism, with heritage tourism remaining very much in the background.
Tunisia is abode of about tens of thousands of archaeological sites of Roman times, including four on the Unesco World Heritage list like Carthage, Dougga, El Jem and Kerkouane.
But last month, the cultural minister of Tunisia Mohamed Zine El Abidine told Parliament that of the 30,000 heritage sites in the country, just 60 — or 0.2 per cent — were open to visitors.
It is required in promoting the tourism sector of Tunisia to generate the revenues. The beaches and hotels are in need to advertise more in international arena.
The tourism minister Salma Elloumi Rekik hoped that the for the heritage tourism, China is a market. Tunisia need to put a stress on the heritage and the archaeological tourism.
The Chinese tourists are not really attracted by the beaches. They are interested in cultural and archaeological sites.
The Chinese tourism is ranked first worldwide in outbound travel, in terms of the number of people travelling and how much they spend.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, spending by Chinese tourists increased by 26 per cent in 2015 to US$292 billion (Dh1 trillion), while the number of outbound Chinese travellers rose by 10 per cent to 128 million. Yet only 7,400 Chinese tourists visited Tunisia in 2016.