Special Report: Tunisia tourism hit harder than Egypt by Arab Spring

Special Report: Tunisia tourism hit harder than Egypt by Arab Spring

Tunisia appears to have paid a heavier price than Egypt in terms of the impact of its revolution of last year on potential tourism from the UK.

Research for Travel Weekly suggests three times as many potential UK holidaymakers would shun Tunisia as wish to visit following last year’s events.

Morocco appears also to have been affected despite seeing no significant unrest, although a bomb attack in Marrakech killed 15 people in April last year.

The results suggest the impact on attitudes to Egypt have been less profound despite the continuing unrest in the country, with a greater proportion of UK consumers professing a desire to visit Egypt than anywhere else in the Middle East and North Africa.

Research firm TNS surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults in the middle of April, asking whether they would “actively consider a holiday” in one of the affected countries “in the next year or so”. TNS also asked whether they would “definitely not visit on holiday”.

More than one in four (27%)adults said they would consider visiting Egypt, while more than one in three (37%) said they would definitely not go.

Just 13% would consider Tunisia, but almost three times as many (36%) said they would not go to the country.

Morocco had one in five (19%) who would consider a holiday, but one-third (33%) would not entertain the idea.

Remarkably, two out of five (41%) would “definitely not go” to Qatar after last year’s events, despite the country not being affected at all.

This seems a case of mistaken identity. In fact, Qatar is considered stable enough to host the 2022 World Cup.

Perceptions of the three major destinations seem to differ significantly by age group. More than half (54%) of young adults, aged 16-24, would consider a holiday to Egypt in the next year, but just 12% of those over 55. Conversely, 54% of over-55s would not entertain the idea of visiting Egypt.

Similarly, 51% of over-55s would not visit Tunisia and 49% not visit Morocco. But the proportions were lower among younger respondents: 34% of 25 to 54‑year‑olds would not go to Tunisia and 30% would not go to Morocco.

Among 16 to 34-year‑olds the proportion of Britons who would stay away was lower still: 21% would avoid Egypt, 22% Tunisia and 18% Morocco. On the plus side, 44% of the younger group would visit Egypt and 28% Morocco. However, only 16% said they would go to Tunisia.

Those with children showed greater interest in Egypt than those without: 32% said they would consider a visit, compared with 25% among those without. Yet adults without children were more likely than families to consider Morocco: 20% against 16%.

There was little difference in attitude to the destinations according to the social class of respondents.

However, there were differences by region, most noticeably to Morocco.

Just 14% of respondents in the north said they would consider Morocco compared with 23% in the south and 28% in the southeast.

This could reflect the availability of flights from London, though that would not explain a lack of regional variation in attitude to Egypt.

At the same time, respondents in the south were less likely to rule out travel to the region as a whole: 25% in the south would not go to Morocco compared with 40% in the north.

Similarly, 30% in the south would not visit Egypt compared with 41% in the Midlands and 43% in the north.

In every case, concern appeared lowest in London and was about half the rate expressing concern in most regions apart from the south and east Midlands.


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