British holiday company Thomas Cook have restarted their travel to Tunisia as of September 2017. If you’re wondering should you visit Tunisia, read on…
After the appalling terrorist incident of 2015, many British holidaymakers have been put off visiting Tunisia due to security concerns. Since the end of July 2017, The British Foreign & Commonwealth office (FCO) has designated certain areas of Tunisia as tentatively safe. Major holiday supplier Thomas Cook has followed up by offering holidays from new year 2018.
Should you be considering Tunisia as your next break? The answer is, absolutely, yes…
Security Has Been Stepped Up
The first thing you’ll be most concerned about has been tackled by the government. Security has been ramped up massively. They’ve built a wall between Tunisa and the troubled state of Libya and have heavily armed guards around most popular tourist sites.
If you’re thinking the sight of heavily armed guards might be unnerving, this is currently the norm in major French cities, London and other popular tourist destinations such as Morocco and Turkey. In short, the possibility of terrorism is similar to elsewhere including major European cities.
As always, follow standard precautions. Be cautious around religious sites and festivals and remain vigilant.
The Beaches Are Incredible
Being on the Mediterranean there’s lots of stunning blue sea and golden sandy beaches. There’s a reason why Tunisia was always such a hot spot before for tourists… Djerba is renowned for being an incredibly beautiful destination with lots of stunning seaside towns to visit.
Although it’s not really a winter sun destination, early spring and late summer/autumn temperatures are better than other destinations around the Med. So you can be topping up the tan until relatively late or early in the season.
Stacks Of Culture
Northern Africa is littered with historical sites and Tunisia has more than it’s fair share. Carthadge is the seat of an ancient trading empire and is a fascinating visit for those interested in ancient history. The Bardo Museum houses many antiquities from this era.
Visitors to the country are well rewarded by getting out of the resorts and exploring nearby towns such as Sfax, Hammamet and Tunis. You’ll find bustling souks (markets) where you can haggle over trinkets and feast in fantastic cafes… Talking of which.
North African food is great in it’s own right. You’ll find tajines, tasty salads and fresh seafood all over the country. Eating here is also very affordable and if you decide you’d prefer something familiar you can always find a burger, pizza or even Indian food.
Amazing Wildlife and Scenery
With the Sahara on the doorstep, there are lots of places to explore this vast desert which is actually more vibrant and lively than you’d expect.
There are several fantastic national parks where you can check out local wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty. Ichkeul and Chambi are two of the most popular national parks in Tunisia where you can spot Oryx (a sort of deer), bat eared foxes, flamingoes and hyenas.
The original Star Wars film used locations in Tunisia to stand in for Tatooine (Luke Skywalker’s home planet). Some of the same sets were also used for Episode One – The Phantom Menace. Whatever you think of the films, they undoubtedly have a strong cultural impact and wandering the sets scattered around the country is a great way to see a piece of Hollywood history.
The best way to visit the sites is with a hire car (www.rentalcars.com), but there are tours, sold in every tourist centre, that will take you to visit some of the better known sets.
Bargain Luxury Hotels
The standard of beach resort hotels in Tunisia is high, with many of them packed full of amenities like spas, gyms, multiple pools and well finished hotel rooms. As the country is currently working hard to win back the trust of the tourists you can get a bargain on some hotels. If you’ve ever considered Tunisia as an option this might be the time to bag yourself a great deal and use a quality resort hotel as a base to explore the country.
Tunisians are welcoming and friendly people and are keen to bring back tourists. The terrorism incidents came as a result of a power vacuum in the country after the Arab spring, coupled with problems in neighbouring Libya, but now the country is doing it’s best to bring back foreign tourism.
Visitors will find lively, relatively liberal and good humoured people who will be happy to see you back in their country.
How To Stay Safe In Tunisia
The FCO recommends staying away from the border area with Libya and being careful around religious sites and busy areas. However this is the same as any popular destination, regardless of where it is in the world: Avoid war zones and try not to offend anyone’s religious or cultural sensibilities.
Being worried about terrorism is understandable, especially in countries where it has happened before. However, we are seeing terrorism in many places which you’d not think about staying away from: France, Germany, the UK, Thailand and even Finland… Defy terrorism and show that you will not be scared of living a normal life and visiting cultures who need your custom. Tunisia relies heavily on foreign visitors, so show your solidarity with them and book a trip today.
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Have you visited Tunisia recently? We’d love to hear your thoughts on tourism in Tunisia, so please comment below…