The cranes return

By | Category: Travel destinations

Lest readers think that I am referring to the large white or grey birds, I should point out that I am referring to the cranes used in construction.

Cranes over Tunis

A common view of whether a destination is expanding or even just doing well is the number of cranes that you see dotted against a skyline. See none and you think that the place is in decline. See dozens and it is because there is a demand for buildings and that would include hotels and attractions. I referred to the craes a few days ago, but on this visit I saw a great many more than I expected. Tunisia is rebounding – and quickly.

A few years ago, after the attack on Sousse in 2015, and cranes were idle. Money dried up and hotels were left unfinished, doomed to expand only in the number of weeds and garbage that congregated on the ground. Many of the tourist cities in Tunisia like Tunis itself, Sousse, Hammamet and Monastir became like that.

That has changed. As soon as you leave Tunis airport, you see cranes swinging their loads onto newly commissioned buildings or revamping existing ones. It is too early to say that the good times are back but there is an optimism that they will be soon. New hotels are being constructed, new trails for tourists to follow are being developed and existing buildings are being given a lick of TLC.

This summer will be a lot better for Tunisian tourism than it was in 2019; 2020 will be even better as it will have enabled tour operators around the world to negotiate contracts rather than the last-minute rush there was last year after the Foreign Office ban was lifted.

Visitors will have many more choices of hotel from their travel agents and tour operators with some old familiar names around for those who have visited before. New hotels – or rather resorts since they are so expansive – are under way with a few being ready for this year but many more for next as a real flurry in construction takes place.

The airport at Enfidha which serves Sousse and Hammamet has been less than busy – all right, virtually empty some weeks – in the last few years. Now it has many more airlines scheduled to use it this summer.

Tunisia is getting ready for the great British rush. At least it hopes there will be a British rush to return to one of the favourite holiday destinations, a place where over half a million of us holidayed every year – Tunisia.

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