Mahdia: integration of archaeological sites into tourist circuit is an urgent need

(TAP/Mohamed Neji Ben Gamra) – Located in the east coast and less than an hour south of Sousse, the city of Mahdia is a modern tourist resort with some of the most beautiful beaches of Tunisia, and well-known for its active fishing harbour. Mahdia also witnessed some important historical events, starting from the Phoenicians and Romans and later the Fatimids, making the city host several monuments that remind of a prestigious past. Speaking to TAP Mohamed Houas Mahdia regional museum curator and representative of the National Heritage Institute in Mahdia…

Traditional grazing-management practice makes an impact in southern Tunisia

Degradation of rangelands is a major global concern, but land degradation processes in the rangelands are poorly understood. This lack of understanding has contributed to poorly-informed interventions and policies that have sometimes exacerbated degradation. Rangeland can become degraded due to crop cultivation, over-exploitation of livestock, over-extraction of woody biomass, and increased aridity owing to both climate change and extraction of water. However, there are traditional historical rangeland governance practices that have allowed sustainable rangeland management in the dry areas for centuries. It’s called “Gdel.” In Tunisian Arabic dialect, Gdel refers…

Back to business: Tunisia-Libya border reopening sparks hope for locals dependent on smugglers

Tunisian traders are back to business in the southeastern town of Ben Guerdane, following the reopening of the Ras Jedir border crossing between Tunisia and Libya on September 1. The town has started to recover from a two-month halt to its commercial activity since Libya first barred the transit of goods to Tunisia, then closed its border. Until not long ago, Ben Guerdane was the scene of protests that pushed dozens of Tunisians to the streets in June. A group of local traders blocked the main road to the key border…

UN chief commends anti-money laundering efforts in Nigeria, Tunisia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed satisfaction with the anti-money laundering efforts in Nigeria and Tunisia. Guterres, in his remarks to the Security Council on ‘Corruption in Conflicts’, noted that the anti-money laundering efforts in Nigeria and Tunisia had seen funds returned to the treasury. At its January Summit this year, the African Union launched the observance of 2018 as African Anti-Corruption Year. “I am pleased to note that anti-money laundering efforts in Nigeria and Tunisia have seen funds returned,” the UN chief said. Newsmen report that the AU has…

UK tourist numbers to Tunisia show signs of recovery

The first signs of recovery in UK tourism to Tunisia following the 2015 terrorist attack in Sousse have emerged. A new study of data from the Office for National Statistics revealed a 537% year-on-year rise to 19,000 visits in the first quarter of 2018. The North African country saw the biggest increase in visitors from the UK of any country in the world, albeit numbers were still low. Research by Manchester-based luxury travel frim Rich Vein Travel disclosed that Finland achieved the second biggest increase at 92,000 UK visits –…

Illegal Migration: Over 3,800 Tunisians Crossed to Italy in 2018

Frustration over lack of economic opportunities and social mobility has driven thousands of disenchanted Tunisians to undertake the perilous Mediterranean crossing in an attempt to reach Europe. Some 3,811 Tunisian migrants, now in an irregular situation, arrived by sea in Italy during the first eight months of 2018 compared to 1,721 recorded during the same period of last year, according to the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights (FTDES). Citing figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Forum President Masoud Romdhani…

Tunisia joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative as it seeks to diversify trade, investment

Tunisia, which boasts the most open and diversified economy in the Maghreb, took its first steps to integrate into China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) strategy as it looks to expand trade and foreign investment. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, in Beijing for the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, presided over the signing of deals between Tunisian and Chinese partners, marking the country’s first tangible steps to form a “solid partnership” with BRI, Tunisia’s government said. The deals include projects to develop Tunisia’s southern port of Zarzis into an…

Italy’s Diplomacy Is Floundering in the Mediterranean

There’s no doubt that the Mediterranean Sea has played a decisive role in elevating Italy’s stature on the world stage. The Romans referred to it as “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”), a rather self-explanatory term that attested to Rome’s quest for maritime dominance. Throughout the Middle Ages, Italian merchants staked generous amounts of money and energy on this maritime crossroads of civilizations, eventually dominating it for many years. The resulting emergence of the Maritime Republics (e.g. Venice, Genoa) represented the capstone of Italy’s commercial and diplomatic thrust in the Mediterranean. In…

Mideast draws more European tourists

If middle east tourism remains competitive globally, it is down to key destinations, in particular, the  UAE, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. According to the latest Q2 data compiled by Expedia Group, the number of travellers visiting the Middle East from Europe is on the rise. The list of the top ten markets into the UAE include the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland – a total of six European countries. Arrivals from Europe to the GCC are set to grow for the period of 2018 to 2020 by around…

FOCAC Beijing summit to set new path for China-Africa cooperation

As African leaders are gathering in Beijing for a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), expectations run high for the two sides to strengthen their already solid friendship and further enhance pragmatic cooperation to bring tangible benefits to the Chinese and African people. The summit, scheduled for Sept. 3-4, aims to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future, further dovetail China’s Belt and Road Initiative with African development, set a new path for a higher level of China-Africa cooperation, and deepen people-to-people exchanges. “We believe that…