Blasted by revolution, terror attacks and political instability, the pandemic has all but delivered a death blow to Tunisia’s embattled tourism sector, a former economic staple. Many of its employees are now looking across the sea for opportunities to build new lives in Europe. Beyond the resorts, recent political events have done little to instil confidence in hotel workers.
Even before the pandemic, the country’s sprawling identikit resorts, relying as they do on package tourism, were in trouble. Battered by revolution in 2011, a devastating terror attack in 2015 and subsequent travel bans, the country’s tourism sector had long ceased to offer the security it promised in the 1960s.
In August, migrant arrivals in Italy from Tunisia were up about 75% on the previous year. According to the International Organization for Migration, this marked “the highest number of departures since the aftermath of the 2011 revolution”.
Among them, were 502 unaccompanied minors, as well as a further 138 travelling with at least one member of their family, suggesting that these were not temporary relocations.