Tourism Development in Tunisia

Tourism in Tunisia is one of the main economic sectors and is the second largest source of currency for the country. This sector is in severe economic crisis since the Revolution of 2011 and is also in crisis from a structural point of view: Tunisia's exclusive seaside tourist resort is facing a growing and overwhelming global competition. This has resulted in a relative decline in the added value of the sector, which is also heavily over-indebted.

The diversification of Tunisian tourism towards alternative, "gentle" tourism, oriented towards the respect for the environment and the populations, and that offers visitors cultural or relaxation products other than the seaside offer, is a necessary shift for the Tunisian economy. It is all the more interesting because mass tourism remains limited to the most economically developed coastal areas, with little impact on the country's inner regions, which are poorer and more heavily hit by exodus and emigration, the source of the revolution.

The Project

Funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). and implemented by Swisscontact, aims to develop tourism in the mountainous area of ​​Djebel Dahar, a disadvantaged region in southeastern Tunisia (Governorates of Gabes, Medenine and Tataouine) Particularly affected by unemployment and the exodus of young people.This is accomplished through the establishment of a Destination Management Organization (DMO). Its purpose is to generate income and create jobs to enable women to earn income and young people to build a future in the region, while enhancing local potential (interesting from a tourism development perspective), but also a strong expression of identity for the populations. The main objective of the project is to promote integrated tourism, preserving and enhancing the local heritage - particularly the Berber tradition - and respecting the environment.

The project also aims at the promotion of job-generating tourism with a maximum of economic benefits remaining in the region (added value, profits, indirect income), by building upon the engagement of local providers and populations, and above all, that of local promoters and investors.


  • Conducting a participatory process involving more than 160 public, private and associative actors involved in tourism industry with a view to creating a destination management organization for "Dahar Destination";
  • Conducting 5 workshops in 2016 to define the organization and drafting a framing document in close collaboration with the National Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism;
  • Bridging the gap between regional public authorities and private providers;
  • Support for the formalization of 14 catering providers in the informal sector;
  • Coaching of 21 accommodation-hospitality businesses to improve their offer (concept of operation, promotion, etc.)
  • Training of 12 tourist establishments (5 hotels, 7 para-hotels) in 6 targeted modules for cooking and catering, for 125 participants including 22 women (1362 training hours in total);
  • Scientific documentation of 24 sites of tourist interest and development in progress of outreach-promotion products;
  • Designing 14 menu cards inspired by traditional cuisine using existing local products;
  • Study and enhancement trip to Switzerland for 10 officials from the Ministry, the National Office of Tourism and the Federation of Travel Agencies;
  • Finalization of a micro-project to provide the historic village of Chénini with a collection and waste management system;
  • Definition of mandates for the creation of a telephone application to map the region and promote hiking tourism.

    Project countries

    • Tunisia

    Project duration

    2014 - 2017


    • SECO

    Working area


    Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
    Hardturmstrasse 123
    CH-8005 Zurich

    Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
    Fax +41 44 454 17 97