Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tunisia opens its beaches for tourists after lockdown




Tunisia opens its beaches for tourists after lockdown

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
European tourists sunbathe poolside on the Tunisian island of Djerba now that the country has lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions. AFP

Tunisia opens its beaches for tourists after lockdown

Tourists are back on Tunisia’s beaches after charter flights resumed to the North African country following a break of more than three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 155 mask-clad holiday makers from France, Germany and Luxembourg were greeted late last week on the resort island of Djerba with temperature checks – but also by hostesses offering them bouquets of jasmine.

“We can’t save the whole season, but we will do everything we can to save part of it,” said Tourism Minister Mohamed Ali Toumi, who was at the airport to welcome the Luxair flight.

Tunisia, a country of some 11.5 million people, has officially registered 1,374 novel coronavirus infections and 50 deaths.

It reopened its borders on June 27, and travellers from countries it classifies as “green”, including France, Germany and Luxembourg, are not subject to any coronavirus restrictions.

“You have managed the health crisis better than us,” said Patrick, a Frenchman in his sixties who arrived with his son for 10 days in the Tunisian sun.

Tourism accounts for between eight and 14 per cent of Tunisia’s GDP, and employs around half a million people.

The novel coronavirus crisis has hit the sector hard.

Tourism revenues declined by around 50 per cent between January 1 and July 10, compared to the same period last year, according to official figures.

Authorities are counting on health regulations to reassure tourists and the sector, and have halved hotel capacity in order to comply with anti-coronavirus measures.

“We are determined to strictly apply the health protocol,” the tourism minister said.

Authorities are hoping for a revival of the sector in early 2021.

Elsewhere in North Africa, Morocco announced Sunday a further easing of its own novel coronavirus restrictions, allowing tourist establishments to operate at full capacity but keeping borders closed.

A “third phase” of easing was set to come into effect on Monday, authorities said in a statement, as part of “the continued implementation of measures necessary for a gradual return to normal life and restarting the economy”.

Tourist businesses are now allowed to “use 100 per cent of their capacity, without exceeding 50 per cent in common areas” such as restaurants, pools and indoor sports facilities.

But the kingdom will keep its borders closed “until further notice”, except for returning Moroccans and residents.

Since June, Morocco has allowed cafes, restaurants and shops to reopen and for domestic tourism to restart.

A state of health emergency remains in place in Morocco until August 10.

Cultural centres, libraries, museums and archaeological sites are also allowed to reopen “without exceeding 50 per cent capacity”, the statement said, and gatherings and activities with fewer than 20 people are also allowed.

Wedding parties and funeral gatherings remain prohibited, and cinemas and public pools will stay closed, a statement said.

The country of 34 million has officially registered over 17,000 novel coronavirus cases and around 270 deaths since March.

Authorities placed parts of the northern city of Tangiers back into lockdown last week after new clusters of infection appeared, and locked down the coastal town of Safi earlier in the month after an outbreak at a factory.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15