Tunisia Hotels Aim To Maintain Stability During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Tunisia had more than 9 million international tourists prior to the pandemic and saw a sharp increase in tourists since 2016. Kevin Dyck is the owner of Mosaic North Africa and North Africa Tours Director and according to his interview regarding the impact of Covid-19 on South Africa/ Other African nations he mentioned that "We work in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and recently we have private tours to Egypt. The tourism industry has come to a stop for international travelers visiting Algeria. They have not yet reopened their borders since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. In Tunisia there have been seasons when their covid numbers were lower and tourists were able to visit, but overall touristic areas and sites are shops are largely left empty and without any groups visiting them. Sadly, large numbers of people working in the hospitality and tourism industry have been without steady income or left jobless since the beginning of the pandemic."
According to STR data, majority of the hotels in Tunisia are Upper Middle Class at 26.8% and 18.6% Middle class. Most of the hotels are located in the Tunisia regional location.
Hotel La Perla Hammamet (midscale class), Royal Golf (upscale class), Hotel Park Place (economy class), Yasmine Beach Resort (upper upscale class) are some examples of hotels which closed down in the past 3 years, however STR hasn’t provided the exact date of closure. When asked about the impact of Covid19 pandemic on the hotels in Tunisia, Kevin Dyck responded that “many of the large resort hotels have shut down along the Tunisian tourist coastal zones that are used to high numbers of tourists during the summer months. Due to the low number of bookings the hotels have not been able to reopen. We have seen a number of boutique hotels and guesthouses continue to operate and serve many domestic tourists.”
The average revenue of the hotels by year shows the fluctuating revenue in the past decade. Unemployment and economic problems created protests and upheaval in 2016. The graph above is remarkable since the revenue was the lowest in 2016 compared to negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
When you plot the percent change of supply and demand YTD (May) on a graph, it suggests that 2020 and 2021 witnessed the highest demand percent change at -48.70 and -21.40 respectively in the past decade. However, percent change of supply has been consistent since 2011. The basic law of supply and demand suggests that if the supply stays the same and demand decreases, the price will go down. Additionally, hotels should not increase their room rates during this new wave of the Covid-19 pandemic or the next few years.
Since December 2021, Tunisia has reported a rise of Omicron variant cases and imposed tighter travel restrictions. Like other countries, Tunisia is open to international travelers but requires the travelers to show a proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Tunisians depend on hospitality and tourism industry as their source of income. Kevin suggested the following actionable steps for hotel managers/ tour operators to combat the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, “there are the practical steps such as making sure guides and drivers follow strict health and safety protocols and have masks and gel readily available for customers. Tour operators can also look at ways to continue employing their staff during this economic downturn. It is tough on many individuals and families that have been left without work since March 2020.”
Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Hospitality and Retail Management at Texas Tech University
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