Thursday, 20 April 2017

TUNISIA: Tunisia Protests Laptops Ban

Tunisia has expressed its concern following an announcement by the United Kingdom and the US of banning laptops and tablets in aircraft cabins on direct flights from Arab countries and Turkey.

Tunisia, which is among the countries covered by the British ban, said the directive will hurt its economy.

“This is something that we will raise with the Foreign Ministry,” Tunisia’s Tourism Minister Salma Elloumi said.

On Tuesday, the US and UK said the ban on electronic devices larger than a smartphone was being imposed as an anti-terrorist precaution.

Officials from Tunisia’s Federation of Travel Agencies said they feared the ban will hurt its tourism sector that has just started to recover following a spate of terrorist attacks that sent tourists fleeing.

“As long as England maintains these restrictions on Tunisia, and from time to time consolidates them with similar decisions, this will have a negative impact on Tunisian tourism,” Mohamed Ali Toumi, President of Tunisia’s Federation of Travel Agencies said.

The British ban that comes into force on Saturday, also targets Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

Fourteen airline companies are required to comply with the directive, including British Airways and EasyJet.

Meanwhile, Adventure-seeking Chinese tourists are becoming more interested in Africa for holiday destination.

The number of visitors who went to Africa in 2016 was mainly due to looser visa restrictions and new direct flights between China and Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa, among other destinations. In South Africa alone, Chinese arrivals were up 93 percent in 2016.

Chinese tourists are looking for new holiday destinations beyond Europe, looking to countries in search of exotic culture and services which the continent has to offer.

Last year, 121 million Chinese traveled overseas, that’s more than any other country in the world , it’s forecasted it will grow to 150 million, in the next few years. The growth rate since 2010 is 18 to 20%.

This is a population where only 6% have a passport. So the room for growth astonishing. More Chinese are turning to Africa for tourism , particularly ecotourism .

The question is : are Africans ready to cater to Chinese tourists especially when they start coming in large numbers?