Friday, July 29, 2016
Sea, Sand, & Sun, 2
Or should the title be "Bake on the Beach"? Because that is my interpretation of beach hotels in Tunisia.
The large hotel we stayed in caters particularly to Russian and Eastern European clients (looking very pink or red after a day on the beach), although we met a few French clients, and Tunisian families came as well.
The Tourism field is truly interesting to study. Last year I taught Tunisian students about the possibilities of tourism (medical tourism, sports tourism, cultural tourism, etc.), however, with the rise of terrorism and fear, much has been lost. Here's how things look today: groups are flown in, escorted to the hotel where everything is provided (meals, drinks, entertainment, spa facilities, etc.) and they never leave this closed world until it's time to take the plane home.
In addition, tourists paying with Euros are paying less for the trip and stay in a hotel than Tunisians pay for their stay (no airfare included).
This is a sad state of affairs. Although some hotels seem to have plenty of clients, this does not seem to benefit the community, except for a few jobs (mostly low grade). The restaurants, markets, and craft stores that depend on tourism are struggling, many have closed or else they have cut back on personnel.
Cultural institutions are struggling as well. The day I visited the Bardo Museum in Tunis with my grandkids, there were maybe six visitors, whereas they used to have crowds of at least two or three thousand a day. There was nobody at the wonderful Uthina ruins, when we had our yearly visit.
True, tourists can spend a peaceful vacation on a nice Mediterranean beach, however, they learn nothing of Tunisia and do not get to know any Tunisians. Appreciating a certain cultural and intellectual level, I can only comment with a caricature--just drawing what I see...