Tunisia had over 9 million international tourists before the pandemic and has seen a sharp increase in tourist numbers since 2016 (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ST.INT.ARVL?locations=TN). Kevin Dyck is the Owner of Mosaic North Africa and North Africa Tours Director and according to his interview regarding the impact of Covid-19 on South Africa / other African countries he mentioned that “We work in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and recently we have private tours in Egypt. The tourism industry has come to a standstill for international travelers visiting Algeria. They have yet to reopen their borders since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. In Tunisia there have been seasons when their covid numbers were lower and tourists could visit, but overall tourist areas and sites are stores that are largely empty and without any groups visiting. the industry has been without a stable income or jobless since the start of the pandemic.”
Hotel La Perla Hammamet (middle class), Royal Golf (upscale class), Park Place Hotel (economy class), Yasmine Beach Resort (upscale upper class) are some examples of hotels that have closed for the past 3 years, but STR has not provided the exact date of closure. Asked about the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on hotels in Tunisia, Kevin Dyck replied that “Many large resort hotels have closed along Tunisia’s tourist coastal areas, which are used to large numbers of tourists during the summer months. Due to the low number of reservations, hotels have not been able to reopen. We have seen a number of boutique hotels and guesthouses continue to operate and serve many domestic tourists.
Average hotel revenue by year shows fluctuating revenue over the past decade. Unemployment and economic problems caused protests and upheavals in 2016 (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/22/tunisia-unrest-government-imposes-night-curfew-unemployment-protests- attacks). The chart above is remarkable as revenue was the lowest in 2016 compared to the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Since December 2021, Tunisia has reported an increase in cases of Omicron variants and imposed stricter travel restrictions. Like other countries, Tunisia is open to international travelers but requires travelers to present proof of vaccination against Covid-19. When you plot the percentage change in supply and demand since the start of the year (May) on a graph, it suggests that 2020 and 2021 had the highest percentage change in demand at -48 .70 and -21.40 respectively over the past decade. However, the percentage change in supply has been constant since 2011.
Tunisians depend on the hotel and tourism industry as a source of income. Kevin suggested the following concrete measures for hoteliers/tour operators to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, “There are practical steps such as ensuring guides and drivers follow strict health and safety protocols and have masks and gel readily available for customers. Tour operators may also be looking for ways to continue employing their staff during this economic downturn. It is hard on many individuals and families who have been out of work since March 2020.” The fundamental law of supply and demand suggests that if the supply remains the same and the demand decreases, the price will fall. In addition, hotels should not increase their room rates during this new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic or the next few years.
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