Tunisian Tourism Opening its Door Back to The UK

uk tourists back to tunisia

For years, Tunisia was a tourist hotspot for the UK. Tour operators around the country could market and sell trips to Tunisia at ease; it had the weather, the beaches and of course fantastic culture.

Then, everything changed. The moment an ISIS gunman stepped onto a beach and killed 38 people, the tourism market effectively shut down. It shut down to such an extent that the Foreign Office even advised against travel there, as the risk of further terrorism attacks occurring was so high.

Since then, you have had to search high and low to find any tourist on vacation. Fortunately, several years on from the deadly event, things seem to be changing. Tour operators are starting to open up Tunisia back to the UK market, and this is hopefully the start of a long-awaited return for the Tunisian tourism industry.


The attack that changed it all

In 2015, a Tunisian jihadist walked onto a beach in Sousse, with an assault rifle disguised in a parasol. From then on, the events are catastrophic. 38 people, with 30 of these said to be Britons, were shot dead.

In the midst of it all, the police took an age to arrive. Local Tunisians tried their upmost to stop him from causing more destruction, going as far as forming a human shield to stop him progressing to other resorts.

In the end, the man behind the attack, Sifeddine Rezgui, was forced into a backstreet. The police shot him dead and as a reminder to all, the bullet holes are clearly visible in the wall that provided the backdrop for the finale.

While this is the attack that might have captured the headlines, it’s also worth mentioning that Tunisia was targeted just three months prior to this at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. On that occasion, 22 people died.

While Tunisia could hardly be classed as a peaceful country following the 2011 Revolution, to say that it shocked the nation would be a gross understatement. To put the impact on tourism into perspective; in 2014 the country accepted 430,000 visitors from Britain. If we look at the figures from last year, this was down to 28,000.


2018 is the year where normality is returning

Fortunately, nearly three years on from the tragedy, things look to be on the mend. Sure, it’s going to take a significant amount of time before the hundreds of thousands of visitors that regularly trekked to Tunisia are back there.

However, one of the UK’s largest operators, Thomas Cook, is preparing to launch flights from Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick again. Furthermore, all of these flights are fully booked. Then, if we turn to another operator, TUI, they are preparing to relaunch in May this year.

Of course, it’s not all good news. While this is certainly promising, in the case of Thomas Cook, it is still expecting just one quarter of the people who traveled to Tunisia in 2014.


The advancements of Tunisian security

The main reason tour operators are regaining confidence in Tunisia is because of the huge advancements in the country’s security. It’s advanced to such an extent that the UK’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has even recommended that the Foreign Office lift their travel restriction to the country.

These security advancements arrive in multiple forms as well. For example, Britain has played a huge role in helping the country redo their entire security systems at the country’s major airports including Tunis, Monastir, Djerba and Enfidha. As part of this work, they have installed explosive detection systems, while the National Guard has been aided by the Ministry of Defense in relation to port security.

MI6 has started to pass on more intelligence information to the country, while France is also providing assistance in the form of firearms training to the police.

It’s not just the main transport hubs and authorities which have been targeted by these advancements in security though. For example, counter-terrorism detectives from the Metropolitan Police have traveled to train hotel staff and help them identify what “suspicious” activity really looks like.

Then, if we turn to the beach itself where the tragedy took place, this is now heavily guarded. In some areas, over 60 CCTV cameras are in place, while the police are on standby in case of any disturbances.

The patrols along borders are much more extensive as well. For example, at Ras Ajdir, 10% of vehicles are searched based on profiling. This profile involves American X-ray scanners, which are able to see inside the vehicle. Clearly, this offers a huge security advantage.

On the subject of America, alongside Germany they have been able to help Tunisia build a 120km wall which runs alongside the Libyan frontier. They are also looking to introduce drone patrols to heighten security in this area.

All of this means that Britain is satisfied that Tunisia is a safe place to visit, and actually encourages its people to make the trip and enjoy its fabulous culture.

Regulations And Protocols You Must Know Before Importing Your Pet To Tunisia

pet travel to tunisia

When travelling to another country, there’s going to be different standards, laws and regulations for pet owners. This can depend on your country of origin and what kind of pet you have. Some pets may not even be allowed into the country. It’s very vital and important to make sure you check ahead of time and get all the necessary documents filled out so you won’t run into any issues when you get to the airport and your pet arrives. Failure to do so, may result in the isolation of your pet in some countries and some countries may even put the pet down if it’s believed to be a threat.

Relocating a pet isn’t easy and it can be a long road if you don’t plan ahead. There are companies that do provide pet relocation consultations and services, so for the best possible outcome and to make sure you have everything you need, you may want to contact a company that provides these services and make sure they import to Tunisia.

A lot of countries in Europe will require pets to have a very specific model of microchip installed but Tunisia doesn’t require a microchip at all. Even though it’s not technically required, we highly recommend that you have a microchip in your pet in case your pet is lost and this will make it far easier to find the owner when the pet is found.


What if I’m Entering Tunisia By Air?

The only airport that pets may enter into Tunisia through is the Tunisia Carthage International Airport. You can either put your pet into the cabin, put them in air cargo or in some cases, they can be taken onto the plane as checked baggage. However, you should have any kind of identification signifying that is your pet handy with you at all times.


Parasites & Diseases

One of the key requirements is to make sure your pet is free of any diseases or parasites that can be transferred to humans. Under no circumstances will Tunisia allow a pet into the country that is found with any of these parasites, so this is requirement number one. You’ll be required to present an international health certificate which must be issued by a licensed veterinarian from the issuing country. This certificate will declare that your pet does not have any transferable diseases and is healthy for travelling.



All of your pets should be vaccinated for rabies 30 days prior to entering into Tunisia. There’s two different places where you can prove the rabies vaccination: There’s a separate certificate or you can attach it to the immunization record that you are required to bring.


Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

If you have an unconventional pet that’s not considered a household common pet, you’ll want to make sure it’s not protected under the CITES act. Almost every country in the world participates in this act and if you do own a pet covered under the CITES act, you will more than likely need to contact Tunisian authorities to find out what further documentation or paperwork needs to be done, if they’re allowed into the country.


Pet Passport

All of the combined certificates will act as your pet’s passport when you enter into Tunisia and you shouldn’t lose them. When you come to Tunisia, you’ll more than likely want to land ahead of time of your pet because these requirements must be presented before they’ll let your pet into the country.

All of these requirements mainly apply to dogs and cats, the basic common household pets. However, if you have other pets like mammals, fish or birds, you won’t need to get a rabies vaccination. Even without the requirement of a rabies vaccination, you will still need to have a health certificate on hand that proves they are free of any diseases that would prohibit them from entry into Tunisia.


Rabies Titer Test

You don’t need to have a rabies titer test done to get your pet into Tunisia. This rule applies to any country of origin.


Do I Need an Import Permit?

No. You will not be required to show an import permit when your pet is travelling to Tunisia, as long as it’s a personal pet.

These requirements and regulations change all the time, so you may want to contact a pet relocation service to ensure your pet is safe for travel and that you meet all of the requirements to get your pet into Tunisia. Proper planning and finding out what you need a head of time can save you a hassle and a whole lot of headache. It’s too common in Europe that pet owners come unprepared without the required documents and their pets end up either being sent home or put into localized isolation for 30 days to verify they’re safe for the country.

Best Tunisia Day Trips

On first glance, Tunisia might look like “another” of those countries with hot temperatures and sandy beaches. To those who study it closely, it’s so much more.

This is a country which is engulfed in history, culture and just general interest. It has umpteen attractions and landmarks, many of which are known and recognised across the world, and this makes it open to a wide array of tourists.

Of course, finding the time to cram all of these landmarks into one trip can be daunting to say the least. This is one of the reasons why arranged tours have become so popular in the country, as we take a look at five of the best excursions you can go on when you land in Tunisia.


Classic Safari Tour from Hammamet – 3 Days

sahara tunisia 1

This first trip is for those who really want to extract the most from their trip and have the time to dedicate several days to the experience. It focusses on the best of the Sahara, although it starts off in the popular tourist destination of El Jem, where visitors can feast their eyes on some of the greatest landmarks in Tunisia such as the amphitheatre. As well as being the third largest in the world, this also happens to be one of the most preserved around, with many festivals often being held there.

The first day then progresses onto Matmata, with this being a cave-like village that was actually one of the scenes for the first films of the Star Wars franchise in 1976.

Following a three course lunch, the last experience of the day sees you start your journey into the Sahara. This happens in Douz and with this being one of the most traditional villages in Tunisia (it even has a camel market), it brings yet more culture into day one.

Following an overnight stay in Douz, the tour commences to Chott El Jerid. This is one of the most picturesque sights that Tunisia promotes, with the salt lakes leaving a cloud of evaporated salt that is eventually used commercially across Europe.

From this point on, the day starts to become a little more relaxed. The group will travel to Tozeur, also known as the capital of the palm tree country, and one of the most architecturally-unique places in Tunisia. It’s here where you’ll have lunch and the opportunity to just explore Tozeur.

The third and final day sees you venture into the mountains in Chebika and Tamerza. All of these destinations are trading posts and as well as prompting some fantastic views, it adds to the overall culture for this tour as well.

The last stop of the tour is in Kairouan, with this arguably being the religious capital of the country. It has no fewer than 100 mosques, including the Great Mosque, while there are other attractions to explore such as water reservoirs and the Medina.


Sahara Explorer from Hammamet – 2 Days

sahara tunisia 2

As the name suggests, this trip is slightly shorter than the previous one although still manages to condense some of Tunisia’s prize attractions in. For example, day one is comprised identically, with trips to El Jem, Matmata and Douz all being included in the tour.

In fact, the second day of the tour is also very similar. It progresses via the famous salt lakes at Chott El Jerid, before then progressing to Tozeur. It’s at this point that the trip takes a little bit of a different turn and instead of visiting the mountains of Chebika and Tamerza, the group will progress directly to Kairouan to see all of the religious sights.

Like with the first expedition, this two day trip still includes all meals and for anyone who isn’t overall concerned about visiting the mountain area of the country, it could be an option.


Tunis, Carthage and Sidi Bou Said Full Day Trip from Hammamet

sidi bou said

While the first couple of tours have taken a similar itinerary, the same cannot be said about this next one on our list. First and foremost this expedition lasts for just one day, but it’s the destinations that tourists visit which sets it apart from the previous ones we have looked at.

For starters, this tour begins in Carthage. This happens to be the first archaeological site that has been given UNESCO status, which is a reason in itself to visit. When you also realise that Carthage used to be the capital of the country and has several attractions (including another Tunisian amphitheatre), it certainly makes for a cultural start to the expedition.

Next, it’s on to Sidi Bou Said. This is yet another UNESCO protected site, and yet another destination that is hugely cultural. Celebrities will often visit, while the beauty of the local surroundings mean that it’s a favourite for artists and musicians as well.

Last on the list of this itinerary is Tunis, which is probably the most well-known destination of the tour. A walled city, this has everything that the typical tourist loves, from workshops, monuments to Souks. The Medina is also worth a mention and with this basking in Muslim, Turkish and Arab culture, it certainly brings a lot of variance to the tour.


Kairouan and El Jem Day Trip from Hammamet


This next tour is also a full day trip but again takes a somewhat different turn. It takes visitors around a couple of the destinations that have already been explored through this guide, with Kairouan and El Jem being the places of interest.

No fewer than three hours is spent in the first stop in Kairouan. A guide will take visitors around the Great Mosque, Medina till Bab Ejjalladine, Mausoleum of Sidi Sahib and Aghlabid pools.

The afternoon is then dedicated to the famous El Jem. Unsurprisingly, the amphitheatre takes great precedence with this element of the trip, although the tour also deviates towards a local museum. This focusses on a collection of exquisite mosaics, alongside a fully restored private home dubbed “the house of Africa”.

A total of 90 minutes is spent exploring El Jem, giving visitors ample time to experience all of its wonders.


Panoramic Cap Bon Full Day Trip from Hammamet

cap bon

In comparison to the past couple of full day trips that have been looked at, it could be said that this final suggestion on our list condenses the most activities.

From Hammamet, visitors will be taken to the historical town of Nabeul. Nabeul’s past focusses heavily on pottery and ceramics, meaning there are a lot of interesting sights for visitors. If your trip happens to occur on a Friday, you will benefit from the renowned local market that occurs on this day every week.

The next stage involves a trip to Haouaria which is described by locals as the “country of eagles”. Despite its reputation, just 900 people reside here – making it one of the quietest destinations you will visit. It also means that tourists are one of its biggest economy drivers and again if you are lucky enough for your trip to fall on a Friday, you’ll benefit from another local market.

The tour concludes in Korbous, which is another quiet village. This is a truly fitting end to the expedition, with visitors witnessing some real sights of beauty relating to the area’s water supplies. The rock pools that are formed in Korbous are made up of some of the purest mineral water around and the fact that Tunisians travel from afar to bathe in these waters says everything you need to know about its reputation.

Top 10 Beauty & Spa Hotels

Once upon a time the Tunisian tourism industry was made up of sandy beaches and soaring temperatures. Now, things have changed.

The country has quickly become one of the most popular holiday destinations for Europeans and while the above two factors will always come into play, over recent times it has adapted to the growing demands of the typical holidaymaker. As you may have gathered from the title, what we are referring to here is spa hotels – and the phenomenon they have become.

Several years ago a “spa hotel” may have been defined as any establishment with an indoor swimming pool. Following major developments, this is no longer the case. For a hotel to qualify under such a description, it has to have the works. It has to have professionals pampering you to your every need, focussing on relaxation techniques, skin care and just general beautification. A swimming pool doesn’t suffice (although it goes without saying that most spa hotels have ones that are bordering on the picturesque).

If we are to hone in on some of these spa hotel attributes in further detail, let’s start with relaxation. The typical Tunisia spa establishment won’t just have the one pool, it will have several – all surrounded by exotic scenery and staff waiting for you hand on foot. Then, there are the exclusive balconies for each apartment, the separate bath tubs following a hard day sunbathing, while sea views are generally a given as well.

Next, it’s down to the professionals to top off your trip. The vast majority of spas in Tunisia have specially-trained beauticians offering an array of treatments to men and women, allowing you to return home completely pampered. This is arguably where the biggest development in the country has occurred, with most resorts investing heavily in the number of employees who are trained to provide such services. In other words, first came the infrastructure such as the pools and gyms, then came the services that transform your stay from good to incredible.

To highlight just what’s now on offer in the Tunisian spa hotel market, we’ve picked out our ten favourite establishments. All of these can be described as nothing but luxurious and if you do want to let your body receive the treatment it deserves for a short while, in a country that has all of the “standard” holiday features, look no further than the following.

Pictures are courtesy of Tripadvisor


The Residence Tunis

Golden Tulip Carthage

The fact that some guests visit The Residence Tunis for weeks on end says everything you need to know about this relaxing environment. Boasting spacious rooms and a pool area that is surrounded with every ounce of natural beauty you could imagine, this is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to see the true meaning of pampering.

The spa itself is very reasonably priced with a whole host of beauty and skin care treatments available. The establishment is situated on the doorway of its own private beach for optimum relaxation, while Gamath has its own shopping centre nearby which is ideal for some retail therapy.


Golden Tulip Carthage

Golden Tulip Carthage

Based in La Marsa, Golden Tulip Carthage is another example of Tunisian hotel spas at their finest. It includes individual apartments as well as a hotel, meaning that you do have a couple of accommodation options before you arrive.

From a relaxation perspective, a lot of past guests comment on the rooms and in particular the bath tubs. This is one hotel where it’s possible to get pampered in the comfort and privacy of your own space, which can be significant for some visitors.

In terms of the treatments that are available, Golden Tulip Carthage offers many ranging from skin care to a whole host of others from trained beauticians. On this note, the pool is also worth a mention, with this being particularly large.


Moevenpick Hotel Gammarth Tunis

Moevenpick Hotel Gammarth Tunis

For those visitors looking for the ultimate fitness experience, the gym at Moevenpick Hotel Gammarth Tunis is one of the best around. However, there is of course more to this establishment, with the remaining spa facilities being notable as well. Admittedly, some of the beauty treatments are a little more expensive than rival hotels, but the majority of past guests wholeheartedly recommend them nonetheless.

Elsewhere, a lot of the rooms provide sea views, which is great for that elusive relaxation therapy!


SENTIDO Rosa Beach

SENTIDO Rosa Beach

This is one of several hotels on our list located in Monastir and as the name suggests, this is another that is located right beside the beach.

While SENTIDO Rosa Beach doesn’t derive most of its reputation from its beauty treatments, it still offers a very good spa experience of which the pool is probably the main talking point. This is surrounded by pure beauty and due to the large area it spans, there is never going to be an occasion where you’re without a sun lounger.


Royal Thalassa Monastir

Royal Thalassa Monastir

Any hotel with the term ‘Royal’ in its name is always going to be intriguing, and this is exactly the case with Royal Thalassa Monastir.

The spa facilities at this establishment are arguably the best on our list. Both the indoor and outdoor pools are out of this world, while the Turkish baths, sea pool and massage facilities make the rest of the spa second to none. Again, you will have to pay for the privilege of using the spa, but the skin care and general beauty treatments that are on offer will make this utterly worthwhile.


Amir Palace

Amir Palace

Again, the name gives everything away with this next hotel on our list. Amir Palace really does live up to its reputation, with the first signs being from its stunning architecture that dominates the skyline.

From a relaxation perspective, it would be fair to say that the pool area is the main selling point from this area. It’s huge in size and is complimented by a buzzing entertainment team who are happy to cater to your every demand, and ensure that you stay is fun as well as relaxing.


Les Berges du Lac

Les Berges du Lac

With a French name, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that Les Berges du Lac pride themselves on their relaxation and general spa facilities.

In fact, this hotel could actually have some of the most modern facilities in the vicinity. Their spa has recently been refurbished and with such structural alterations, the management team are complimenting their existing services which include exquisite skin care and beauty treatments.


Club Calimera Rosa Rivage

Club Calimera Rosa Rivage

Yet another hotel based in Monastir is Club Calimera Rosa Rivage. It also happens to be one that’s been reconstructed in recent years, meaning that visitors are again open to some of the best spa facilities around.

The pool has been upgraded, while the gym and spa often receive rave reviews from past guests. Massages appear to be the speciality of Club Calimera Rosa Rivage, although they also offer various skin care treatments to make their offer the “whole package”.


Royal Miramar Thalassa

Royal Miramar Thalassa

Another hotel with the special “Royal” in its name, this is also an establishment which boasts a gigantic pool area. The general spa area is priced a little lower than rival hotels, with the treatments being just as impressive and primarily focussing on massages, beauty and skin care.

Additionally, for those that want to bask with some true relaxation, Royal Miramar Thalassa is another resort with its own private beach.


Sahara Beach

Sahara Beach

On the subject of beaches, it won’t come as any surprise to read that this final establishment also has its own. However, it’s not just about masses of white sands, with the Sahara Beach suites also regarded as being some of the best around. Some have two balconies – looking over the rest of the resort and the sea to again make the place ooze relaxation.

While the hotel does have its own outdoor pool, it’s probably the indoor one which is worthy of the biggest mention. This is one of the best in the vicinity and when it is complimented by a spa offering so many beauty treatments, it’s another fantastic option for anyone looking to be pampered.