What can tourists expect from the “Jasmine revolution-2” in Tunisia?
According to observers, the resignation of Hamadi al-Jebali, the Prime Minister of Tunisia, may lead to a new round of tension in society and even a new revolution in the country, in the past one of the most stable and secular in the Arab world.
It is social stability and a minimum of religious restrictions that attract a huge number of tourists to Tunisia every year, mainly from Europe.
Zigzags of the ” Jasmine revolution»
Hamadi al-Jebali motivated his resignation by a failed attempt to form an independent government that would become ,in his view, a”non-partisan government of technocrats”. The need for such a government arose after the violent events caused by the murder of a prominent opposition leader, Shukri Belid. His death turned the” Jasmine revolution ” in Tunisia into another active phase, thousands of opponents of the ruling Islamist regime took to the streets of cities, and there were killed and injured during street clashes.
Now, due to the departure of Hamadi al-Jebali, analysts expect an increase in the influence of Islamists, a new round of their confrontation with supporters of the secular government in Tunisia and a General increase in instability in this North African country. And, as a result, a decrease in the flow of tourists, which can finally undermine the already” fading ” economy of a once-prosperous country.
Is the tourist flow running low?
Tourism is traditionally one of the main sources of income (about 7% of GDP) of the Tunisian Treasury. Tourists are attracted to this country by the opportunity to relax at any time of the year in the Mediterranean resorts and get acquainted with the historical sights of the times of Carthage and the Roman Empire, many of them are included in the UNESCO List of world cultural heritage.
The events of the “Jasmine revolution”, which began in Tunisia at the end of 2010, had a negative impact on the tourist flow. The once-crowded streets of seaside towns began to empty, and their residents felt a decrease in their only income – from servicing tourists. Unemployment in the country rose by 17%. In 2012, due to some stabilization of the situation in Tunisia, the tourist flow increased, although it did not reach pre-revolutionary indicators. And now-the resignation of the Prime Minister and anxious expectations of a new decline.
Perhaps, will manage…
Do the gloomy forecasts regarding the decline in tourist flow to Tunisia apply to Russians? Paradoxically, the number of tourists from our country has increased since the beginning of the “Jasmine revolution”. The Tunisian Ambassador to Russia, Ali Gutali, gave the following figures: 180,000 of our compatriots visited the country in 2010, a “quiet” year, and 250,000 in the past.
We can only wonder what motivations are driving our tourists who go to Tunisia, despite the risk associated with political instability: fears that this beautiful country will be closed to foreigners (there are calls for the creation of a “Tunisian Caliphate”), or hope for the traditional Russian “maybe”?