The news that Tunisia is to actively advertise holidays in the North African country this coming autumn has come as a bit of a surprise to the tourism industry but looking more closely it’s possible to see the reason for the delay.
Travellers are still wary of the North African countries following the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 and whilst in many of the countries, calm resumed shortly after the uprisings, regular flashpoints have caused concern and impacted on tourism numbers.
Egypt is a prime example where unrest has dogged the recovery in the tourism sector and kidnappings in the desert areas have further added to people’s concerns. The benefit has been that prices on all-inclusive holidays have tumbled and promoted an increase in travellers prepared to take the minimal risk.
So how risky is it to travel to political hotspots?
Foreign Office advice on Egypt is simply to avoid large crowds, listen to local news bulletins and follow the advice of your travel rep. Cairo sees the majority of any trouble and travellers to the Red Sea resorts are told that they can expect a trouble free holiday.
The situation in Tunisia is not so clear cut with many of the main holiday resorts being located close to major cities bringing tourists close to potential flashpoints. The same applies to Morocco but again, stability has followed the 2011 uprisings meaning that whilst possible, trouble is unlikely.
Tunisia is thought to be waiting for an extension of the stable period before moving ahead with a costly campaign and expects 2014 tourist number to match or better their best ever year in 2010.
Of more concern of late have been the protests against austerity measures in Greece. Again, the trouble has been more prevalent in the capital Athens and it’s only the foolish who go near where the trouble flares.
It seems that as long as travellers exercise common sense in travelling to such places, they’re still almost guaranteed a trouble free time and are likelier than not to benefit from reduced prices as the troubled countries try to attract much needed tourist cash back to their countries. It’s a great way to get a holiday on the cheap and find that the destination is quiet because many fellow travellers are too wary to go there.