The tourism industry is one sector of the economy that is very fragile; it can suffer immensely in face of political or economic upheavals as demonstrated by the case of Tunisia.
After years of massive growth in the tourism industry ever since the turn of the 21st Century, Tunisia’s tourism industry came to a halt towards the end of 2010. It was during this time that the first wave of the Arab Spring Revolution was gaining momentum. As the revolution itself started in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, Tunisia was hit hard by the subsequent bans of ‘no-entry’ instituted by western countries.
The ‘no-entry’ bans virtually took off Tunisia of the world tourism grid. Even after the violent demonstrations, protests, riots and the subsequent coups and civil war subsided, most countries did not lift their bans as early as Tunisia anticipated.
Britain was the last country to lift its ban. Britain’s decision was widely praised around the country as most of the Tunisian tourists, vacationers and travelers are from the UK.
The onus of luring back the massive numbers of holidaymakers from countries like the UK, Germany, France, and Italy among others to the Mediterranean beaches, Tunisian desert landscapes, and rich culture has been wrestled away from the government by enterprising startups buoyed by their passion to put Tunisia back on the world tourism map.
Efforts by Tunisian startups are complimented by several European countries that have restored travel insurance cover to Tunisia giving tour operators room to organize holidays in Tunisia and allowing cruise lines to reenter Tunisia onto their itineraries.
The following are some of the startups that are setting exemplary precedents in the Tunisian tourism industry:
Incept Tunisia is a startup whose mandate is to promote tourism in Tunisia through disseminating information on platforms that holidaymakers can easily access it. The group has an online presence on all social media platforms providing current information on the prevailing state of affairs in the country in general and tourist destinations in particular.
Incept Tunisia founders say they decided to start the group after they saw that many ‘erroneous’ messages were being spread across the internet pitting the Tunisian tourism industry in a sorry state. Some of the messages also threatened the safety of holidaymakers. Some of the messages that circulated on the internet include, “Take your bulletproof vest for the beach” and “I loved Tunisia but afraid it’s not for me anymore.”
Incept Tunisia has reached over a million subscribers and followers on most of its social media platforms thus it views itself as succeeding in its endeavors.
Autre Tunisie or Another Tunisia in English is a travel agency company seeking to lure more holidaymakers to Tunisia. The travel agency is a partnership between Tunisian and French startups. The reason behind forming this company, according to the owners, is to entice cruise lines back.
Tunis, which was a popular port of call among many cruise lines, has witnessed a sharp decline in recent years. The start-up believes it can entice some global cruise lines to reenter Tunis back onto their itineraries.
The company seems to have struck its first success story as Crystal Cruises recently stated it might soon travel to Tunis.
TripOpt is a group of engineers and technologists who came together to launch apps and smart tools aimed at improving products and customer service.
TripOpt developed the TripOpt mobile app solution that augments holidaymakers’ personal experiences. The app is specially designed for those holidaymakers who explore Tunisia’s exotic and uncommon venues.
TripOpt targets the venues that are not entirely or are poorly covered by established groups such as TripAdvisor and Google Trips.
In the pipeline is a recommendation app, Things to do on a Voyage where holidaymakers can get to do what they really want to do on a holiday rather than do what crowd reviewers say is good to do.
The new app is to rely on an advanced set of optimization algorithms and machine learning to suggest trip plans, user choices, and history.
The recommendations will be used to customize a list of adventures that meet each holidaymaker’s travel preference, destination, and activities.
Viajes Desert Rose Service
Viajes Desert Rose Service is primarily a travel agency based in Sousse but it recently added a new innovation aimed at luring tourists back to Tunisia.
Viajes is collaborating with local filmmakers in Tunisia to make short films on the country’s most iconic destinations.
Some of the films produced have already aired in Milan, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and London.