In hopes of salvaging summer along its thousands of kilometres of Mediterranean coastline, Tunisia is reopening its borders to international visitors at the end of the month. Algerians and Europeans – including British tourists – will be permitted back into the country from 27 June, and a further announcement about conditions of entry into the country is expected next week.
Tunisia was locked down in mid-March and has recorded zero new coronavirus cases since 2 June, as well as one of the lowest numbers of cases per capita of any country on the Mediterranean.
The Ministry of Tourism has launched a compulsory health protocol and is certifying all tourism-related businesses, including hotels, restaurants, cafes and museums, with a ‘Ready and Safe’ label. Accommodation will be permitted to operate at 50% capacity, and visitors cannot have a temperature over 37.9°C, which will be checked on arrival at the airport as well as at hotels. Masks are mandatory for staff, as well as for visitors in enclosed spaces.
Tourism has been on a promising trajectory in the last few years, with an increase in flights from Europe to Tunisia and new country-wide itineraries from tour operators, covering sights from ancient Roman ruins to abandoned Star Wars sets. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and a recent forecast showed that it could shrink by 7% this year, the largest decline since the country’s independence from France in 1956. Lonely Planet named Tunisia one of 2020’s best value destinations.