A bridge to Africa
The Association of Tour Operators of Russia cites Kapitalis, a Tunisian Internet resource, that 270 of 570 hotels of the country have been shut down due to the crisis in the sphere of the hotel business. A series of heinous terrorist attacks in the country have led to a drastic reduction of the tourist flow. As a result of the terrorist attack on the National Museum of the capital on March 18th 2015, 12 people were killed, including a Russian citizen. The largest terrorist attack in the history of the country took place in the resort town of Sousse on June 26th; 38 residents of the hotel of Riu Imperial Marhaba were shot dead, including a Russian citizen; 40 people were injured. A bus carrying the security guards of the President was bombed in the center of Tunisia near the building of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Tourism on November 24th; 13 people were killed, and 20 people were injured. It was thought all attacks were committed by Daesh.
As a result of this, Spanish and French hotel networks left the Tunisian hotel market. Because of a threat of terrorist attacks, several countries banned visiting Tunisia; and in 2015 the country lost about 1 million tourists.
Meanwhile, Ali Gutali, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia to the Russian Federation, states: “In general the situation in the world, Europe, the Middle East is very restless. We provide high security in our country, we take the most serious measures on providing security, especially at airports and tourist zones, where terrorists can try to commit attacks. We do our best to prevent such terrorist attacks in our country.”
“We have received visits from many Russian tourists, we hope that their number will increase again. This year we will hold a series of events, which will also strengthen our partnership. In late March.– early April, a joint legal commission, the meeting of which will be held in Moscow, will sign a number of important agreements. Within the framework of the Russian tourist business council we will also carry out activities and strengthen bilateral co-operation, the creation of joint ventures. Tunisia may become a very important bridge to Africa for Russia, for Russia to strengthen cooperation with the African continent,” the Ambassador stated.
According to him, this year Tunisia will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the independence of the country and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Tunisia. “We will definitely hold a big celebration. It will be a symbol of our friendship and an important milestone in the development of relations between our countries, which are now very strong,” Gutali said.