Is it Safe to Holiday in Tunisia 2021?
Tunisia has been a popular tourist destination for a long time. However, terrorist attacks in 2015 impacted the country’s tourism industry severely. The Tunisian tourism industry has been recovering in recent years, but as with any other country in the world right now, travelers are grappling with the new realities imposed by the pandemic.
The Tunisian government in recent years has worked to improve the tourism infrastructure in the country and provide increased safety for tourists. One such measure has been to implement the Tunisia eVisa that allows globetrotters to easily apply for a Tunisian visa online if they plan on visiting the country for tourism.
All prospective visitors to Tunisia will need to ensure they have the Tunisia visa requirements in place before they begin the application process for the Tunisia eVisa. Pending application review will allow applicants to submit a successful online application.
Visiting Tunisia during COVID-19
Tunisia is much safer to visit now, even with the pandemic raging in other parts of the world.
The Tunisian government has instituted COVID-19 protocols to deal with the on-going pandemic. All international visitors are required to abide by them when traveling to Tunisia.
Foreign travelers arriving in Tunisia are required to undertake a PCR test before traveling to the country. The test should be taken no more than 72 hours before departure for Tunisia and indicate a negative PCR result for the traveler.
Tunisian authorities require every foreign visitor arriving in Tunisia to submit a negative PCR test before departure for Tunisia. Test results in English, French, and Arabic are accepted.
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from providing a negative PCR test certificate.
All travelers are also required to download a track and trace app on their phones for monitoring purposes and complete a Health Declaration Form before their departure for Tunisia.
Upon completing the form, each traveler is sent a QR code via their email. This QR code will need to be shown to the airline staff before boarding and again to customs/immigration officials upon arrival in Tunisia.
Once in Tunisia, all international arrivals will then undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days at their hotels, with the option of getting tested again beginning from the 6th day of their arrival to shorten the quarantine period to 7 days.
Visitors to Tunisia or their respective countries can submit the request to shorten the length of the quarantine period to 7 days. Visitors will be responsible for the cost of the new PCR test.
The quarantine period can only be shortened if the traveler receives a negative PCR test result once tested on the 6th day of their mandatory quarantine.
Each traveler will also need to show valid travel insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 treatment for the entire duration of their trip to Tunisia.
Currently, Tunisian authorities do not have mandates on proof of immunization against COVID-19 for entry/exit purposes.
How to Stay Safe in Tunisia
Tunisia is now rebounding from the terrorist attacks that shook the nation in 2015 and is now considered a safe place to visit for tourists, provided tourists stay away from certain areas that are deemed dangerous.
The U.S. government has issued a travel advisory prohibiting travel to certain regions in Tunisia because of terrorism or because the area is considered a military zone. These include the Libyan-Tunisian border area up to 30km, the Chaambi Mountain National Park, the Desert South of Ramada, Jendouba El Kef, and Kasserine near the Algerian border, and Sidi Bou Zid in central Tunisia.
One of the traveling best practices is to demonstrate respect for local laws and customs whenever possible and adhere to the COVID-19 preventative measures instituted by the country’s Ministry of Health. This applies to Tunisia as well.
Wearing a mask is mandatory for all foreign visitors in Tunisia, especially when in public places and the country’s laws do not allow gatherings of over four people at the moment.
Most hotels, restaurants, and businesses are operating on reduced hours and capacity. However, sightseers can still visit some of the iconic landmarks, museums, and cultural/historic sites in Tunisia.
Currently, there are also limitations to inter-city travel at this time. However, travelers are free to visit tourist attractions that are currently open, and there are plenty!
Places to Visit in Tunisia
Aside from Tunis, Sousse, and Kairouan, sightseers can also visit other wonderful places in Tunisia, including:
The ancient Phoenician city known for its wealth and being the seat of the Carthaginian empire lies scattered along the Bay of Tunis amidst the background of the pristine Mediterranean Sea.
The archaeological ruins of this ancient city are a UNESCO World Heritage site telling us the story of how the city fell to the Romans during the Third Punic War.
These ruins tell the story of how this ancient civilization lived, thrived, and was ultimately overpowered by a competing regional force that the world came to know as Rome. There are multiple sites of these ancient ruins that visitors can get to by walking or take in the entire area by going up to Brysa Hill.
The Romans competed for influence in the Mediterranean Sea and left behind some prominent ruins of their own in modern-day Tunisia. One of the more prominent ones is the Amphitheatre at El Jem that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Sahara Desert
One of the things you cannot miss when traveling to Tunisia is visiting the hottest place on Earth, The Sahara Desert. Visitors usually start their trips into the desert from a town called Douz, which is also called the gateway of the Sahara Desert.
Camping in the desert, especially in the summertime can be rough and not for the faint of heart but staying overnight for some stargazing is definitely worth the trip. Travelers can also go for tours on 4WDs, take a ride through the desert on quad bikes, or just enjoy a camel-back ride through parts of the desert.
It is a beautiful oasis at the base of the Djebel el Negueb mountains. It was once an outpost for the Romans and later served as a refuge for the Berber people. Today only a few hundred people inhabit the oasis.
Chebika has beautiful waterfalls with date-palm trees that make it an attractive tourist haunt. Scourers can choose to hike and camp in the mountains or climb them for spectacular views of the Chott El Djerid.
Chott el Djerid
Chott el Djerid is an Arabic name that translates to “Lagoon of the Land of Palms”. It is the largest Salt Lake in Tunisia that changes its colors to pink, orange, green or red throughout the year as a result of geological changes taking place.
The lagoon is dry in the summertime, so the best time to see it would be in winter from October to February when travelers can cross the lagoon by boat.
Visitors can walk along by the salt deposits or observe the flamingoes that have recently taken to nesting in the lake during the spring season. Avid Star Wars fans will also recognize this place as the Lars Homestead setting.
Hammamet was the first tourism destination in Tunisia, owing to its exquisite beaches and well-maintained Old Town referred to as Medina in Arabic. It is on the Cap Bon peninsula and has all the charms of an old town, proudly showing off its history to visitors while offering them a chance to bask in the warm sun on the beach.
There is plenty to explore here about not just the history of this town but also ancient history dating back to the time of the Phoenicians and Romans. There are also places where visitors can go shopping and pick out memorable pieces of this place to take home with them.
Apart from that, visitors can expect to find fortresses, mosques, hot springs, ancient Roman caves, settlements, as well as museums and art galleries to visit in Hammamet.
This article has been contributed to OwlOverTheWorld by Visa Tunisia.
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