May Thu, 2015 Security
FVW magazine, one of Germany’s top travel trade news outlets, reported in April that German hotel and tourist investors continued to be optimistic about tourism and hotel investment in Tunisia despite the 18 March terrorist raid on the National Bardo Museum in the capital, Tunis, that killed 21 people and wounded at least 50.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Tunisian government blamed the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, an apparent splinter group of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Read more here by MSN: Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Tunisia Attack, and by Reuters: Thousands of Tunisians, leaders march after Bardo attack.
FVW quotes TUI Group (hotel investment) product manager Florian Fleischer as saying; “TUI has not only expanded but also upgraded its hotel portfolio in Tunisia, with 10 exclusive target group hotels.” TUI said these included properties “on Djerba, the new Robinson Djerba Bahiya, the Sensimar Palm Beach Palace, the Suneo Club Seabel Aladin, and the Riu Bellevue Park in Port el Kantaoui.”
Neckermann, a Thomas Cook brand, plus DER Touristik, Alltours, and FTI are all adding properties to Tunisia as well, says FVW.
So why are all these German hoteliers flocking to Tunisia despite the ISIS and al Qaeda threat? Aside from North Africa being a popular European tourist destination, Tunisia has reportedly ramped up security to protect its tourist sector, which contributes 7% to its national GDP.
The security campaign is supposed to protect hotels, transport routes, tourist sites, and modes of transport. The government also launched an advertising campaign promoting the increase in security in attempts to demonstrate that Tunisia is a safe holiday destination. Tourists on several popular travel sites such as Tripadvisor.com report an increased police presence on the streets in Tunisia, and that several hotels have bolstered perimeter security at beach areas.
More details on hotel security in Tunisia have not been forthcoming, however.
On the other hand, a new government bill significantly increasing punishment for attacks on military personnel is seen as a first step in additional counter terror measures meant to ramp up security nationwide, including the tourist sector.
And Tunisia certainly needs the security. Vice News reported that in April at a university in Kairouan, 100 miles south of Tunis, hundreds of students heralded ISIS and Adolph Hitler at a major rally with flares, chants, and massive banners.
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