Tunisia: A Top 5 Russian Holiday Destination

A unique house in Tunisia

In another case of "Egypt's and Turkey's loss" is another country's touristic gain, Russian tourists are flocking to Tunisia in 2016. According to an Interfax report, the number of Russians who visited the country from January to may of 2016, increased by some 650% compared to the same period in 2015. 

The head of the Tunisian National Office for Tourism in Russia and CIS Countries, Megid Kahlawi told reporters: 

"If you take the statistics for January-may 2016, the Russian market took second place behind France, for the number of tourists. For the period indicated, this amounted to 115 thousand people. In comparison with 2014 growth in Russian tourist arrivals amounted to almost 80%."

According to Kahlawi, 2015 was a very bad year for Tunisia due to certain circumstances, so the comparison was made with 2014. According to estimates of the office, while maintaining the dynamics at the end of the year the number of tourists may reach half a million. One reason for the sharp upswing in tourists was arrivals from large Russian tour operators. According to the Tunisian officials, "Pegas turistik" alone operates more than 20 flights weekly to Tunisia.

Ruins on a remote shore near the "Switzerland" of Tunisia, Mahdia

Also, Tunisia has ensured the safety of travelers far better than most other destinations via such things as each hotel having its own security even to the point of specially trained dogs. Special sea patrols, plain clothes security personnel, and a host of other measures have been instituted by the Tunisian government. Authorities began to use high technology to identify, and currently negotiations are underway with Russia for cooperation in this area. All hotels are required to follow the new rules, otherwise they lose their licenses. Just last week, this Sputnik discussed how Tunisian tourist facilities are firmly protected from potential threats. Tunisia's Ambassador to Russia Ali Goutali told Russian Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturism) head Oleg Safonov on Monday of last week: 

"Tourist sites are well-protected and there are no security threats to the holidaymakers. The Tunisian authorities are dealing with all the issues related to the security of Russians."

The Russelior in Yasmine Hammamet is one of Tunisia's most luxurious spa resorts

In turn, Safonov made note of Russia welcoming these new higher security measures saying;  "Tunisia has entered the top five popular Russian holiday destinations this summer." 2015 was a disaster for Tunisia touristically, largely because of a single terroristic event. In June of that year, a lone gunman concealed an assault rifle in an umbrella and fired at tourists on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia, killing 38. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack. After the event, Russian touristic flows to the country dropped by 80 percent.