DJERBA | “You can’t save the whole season, but we will try everything to save a game”: the tunisian minister of Tourism has welcomed this week-end, tourists to a first charter flight after a stop of three months due to the coronavirus.
Arrived on the island of Djerba on a flight chartered by the tour operator luxembourg Luxair, the 155 tourists in French, German and luxembourg were expected in their descent of the plane by a hostess, wishing them a good stay with bunches of jasmine.
Tunisia has successfully undertaken drastic measures to contain the pandemic, which has made 50 deaths among 1374 infected persons into the country.
The mandatory quarantine of 14 days, was lifted in mid-June, and the borders were reopened on 27 June. The travelers from France, Germany and Luxembourg are not subject to any restriction, as all countries classified as “green” by the tunisian authorities.
At their descent of plane, the passengers were wearing masks health and have been subjected to an outlet temperature by thermal imaging camera at the airport.
“You have better handled the health crisis that we are,” says Patrick, a Frenchman of about sixty years came with his son for a stay of ten days in the sun.
He said that he had chosen Tunisia after a follow-up to the tv the evolution of the health situation in the country.
Djerba, the “island of dreams”, is one of the main tourist destinations in Tunisia. It attracts mainly tourists, French, germans and british.
Tunisia has been hit hard by the economic and social impact of the closure of the borders due to the pandemic.
The authorities are hoping for the beginning of 2021, a recovery of the tourism sector, which represents 8 to 14% of GDP, employs about half a million people and is the most affected by the health crisis. The income from tourism decreased by approximately 50% between 1 January and 10 July compared to the same period last year, according to official statistics.
The most important thing, is that people who work in tourism are regaining confidence and believe again”, says the tunisian minister of Tourism, Mohamed Ali Toumi. And “I think it is won with the arrival of this aircraft and other soon,” he said.
The authorities rely on the maintenance of stringent sanitary measures to reassure tourists and the sector.
“The health measures begin at the entrance of the hotel” and with “the observance of the procedures of distanciation,” says Atef Denguir, a director of a hotel in Djerba.
On arrival at the hotel, tourists will cleanse the hands with a hydroalcoholic gel and are subjected to a new temperature, while the hotel staff sprayed the disinfectant on luggage.
“We decided there was 8 days (…). The decision was quickly taken”, because we know Tunisia, ” says Emmanuel Lambert, a French tourist who came with his family.
By re-opening its borders, Tunisia has decided to halve the capacity of its hotels to comply with the instructions anticoronavirus.
“We are committed to strict implementation of the health protocol,” assured AFP the minister of Tourism, who has traded with travelers.
Responsible destination at Luxair, Marc Zafra is pleased with the fact that his agency has “managed eventually to make it from the first charter outside of the european Union to Tunisia” thanks to the green light from the EU.
And for this to continue, some as Mr. Lambert believe that”just be careful”.
“I built that he had to live with the COVID! Because in any case, I believe that I can both “catch” in the Champagne-Ardenne region in the Marne, that the “nab” here,” he says.