Holidaymakers are heading back to Tunisia and Turkey this summer following some challenging years for tourism in the two countries.
With improving security and the promise of cheaper holidays, destinations across the eastern Med and northern Africa; more specifically Tunisia and Turkey, look well placed to win back tourists put off by recent terrorism and political upheaval.
Tour operators have just restarted flights to Tunisia, while Turkey has seen a surge in bookings as confidence returns to one of the UK’s most popular destinations.
The developments should ease pressure on resorts in Spain and the western Med, where prices have risen as a result of higher demand.
Tunisia travel advice
Tunisia has been a popular tourist destination for decades, with its year-round sun and historic ruins. Thomas Cook, which first opened an office in the country in 1902, took more than 200,000 UK holidaymakers to Tunisia in 2014 across the summer and winter seasons.
That was until tragedy struck in June 2015 when a gunman killed 38 people at a beachfront hotel in Sousse, 30 of whom were British tourists.
Since the attack, the Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts, prompting the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office to change its travel advice for Tunisia in July 2017.
With British holidaymakers able to travel to the majority of the country, Thomas Cook and TUI have restarted flight and hotel programmes for this summer.
Spain capacity squeeze
Turkey is also back on the radar for European tourists, with ABTA reporting recently that bookings for Turkey were up 69% for 2018. Egypt is also continuing on its road to recovery with a 24% increase in bookings.
In 2015 Turkey was the world’s fifth most visited tourist destination but 2016 saw bombings in Istanbul and Ankara followed by an attempted coup.
This had a knock-on impact on capacity in Spain and other destinations in the Western Med, leading to higher hotel prices and a shortage of availability.