Tunisia: specialists show trade how much they care

Tunisia: specialists show trade how much they care

Tunisian specialist Wigmore Holidays and Travel plans to raise commission for independent agents from 10% to 12% this September in a bid to boost sales through the trade.

Managing Director Tijani Guetat said: "For the last five years on average we have been selling 50%t through the trade and 50% direct. From this autumn we would like to sell two thirds through the trade."

A second level of commission, 15%, is available for agents who sell around £30,000 worth of holidays. "Instead of looking at the number of passengers, we now want to look at an agency's revenue.

"We're not interested in volume, it is quality clients we are after. Increasing commission is also a way of saying thank you to agents for their support over the last five years," said Guetat.

The new commission structure will come into play in the second half of September, with the launch of the company's new 52-page brochure Aspects of Tunisia, winter 1999/2000 and summer 2000.

The launch event at a central London hotel will be double the size compared to last year - invitations are going out to an extra 100 agents, making a total of 200 guests. The event will show agents what's new for 2000.

New additions include two off-the-beaten track options for clients who want to stay in the middle of the desert. The four-star 40-room Tamerza Palace is in an oasis in the Sahara desert in the south of the country.

Director of marketing and communications Kader Chelbi said: "It is in the middle of nowhere, ideal for people who want to unwind and get away from it all on a short break. It has a fantastic view of a former Berber village destroyed by floods in the 1960s. The rooms are very stylish and the food is good too."

A second option is a camp in a small oasis in the Sahara desert between the towns of Tataouine and Douz, accessible only by four-wheel drive 44 miles along dirt tracks. There are 60 white linen tents, each with a double bed, en suite shower and toilet. There is a watchtower to see the desert sunset and a swimming pool.

For repeat visitors to the country, flydrives will be more heavily promoted for next year. "A flydrive is the ideal way of exploring the archeological sites in your own time. There are around 28,000 Roman sites scattered throughout the country. We have expanded the section in our brochure to provide explanations on the main sites. Tunisia was the bread basket of Rome, providing wheat and olives to the empire in the first and second centuries AD," said Chelbi.

"Cars are delivered to the client's hotel. The roads are good, and once you leave behind Tunis, the roads are almost empty in the hinterland. The only downside is that car hire can be quite expensive, at £65 a day."

Wigmore takes around 3,000 passengers a year to Tunisia.

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