Tunisia’s tourism development is to be supported by the UN World Tourism Organisation in the wake of the country’s political upheaval earlier this year.
Policy guidance, marketing, and training for the tourism workforce are among the planned areas of co-operation.
The partnership with the Tunisian government will see the UNWTO provide 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 its certified universities around the world.
Tunisia received nearly seven million international tourist arrivals last year, generating nearly $3 billion in export revenues.
But arrivals in the first three months of 2011 slumped by 44% and receipts by 43%.
Tunisian tourism minister Mehdi Houas highlighted the importance of the support of the international community to the country’s tourism.
“Tourism in Tunisia is fully operational and open for business, and we need the support of the international community to communicate this reality,” he said. “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 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. In the medium-term, it would support the improved competitiveness of the destination.
he said: “International tourists are gradually returning to Tunisia. 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.”
The UNWTO and the Tunisian government have agreed to organise a regional conference in Djerba on competitiveness and sustainability criteria for tourism destinations and a training workshop on quality and classification systems of tourism accommodation units.
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