CAIRO, 10 Feb – RIA Novosti, Zaman Ramazanov. The Tunisian authorities have offered the Russian Federation to resume charter flights, preparations are underway to restore the tourist flow, Russian Ambassador to Tunisia Sergei Nikolaev said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
The ambassador said that since 2016 the number of Russian tourists visiting Tunisia has steadily increased and reached at its maximum 640 thousand people a year. “There were prerequisites to bring this figure to 800 thousand, and according to some estimates, up to 1 million people. However, the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow these plans to be realized. Tunisia was practically closed for inbound tourism,” Nikolayev said.
According to Nikolayev, an understanding has been reached with the Tunisian leadership that the safety of Russian citizens is an absolute priority. The embassy is in constant contact with the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism and monitors the sanitary and epidemiological situation.
“I am sure that the tourist flow will resume as the situation normalizes. We are gradually preparing for this. The first concrete steps have been taken. The Tunisian government has taken” special “measures in relation to the Russian tourist market and has proposed resuming charter flights from Russia. And the Russian aviation authorities have issued permission to the airline. Aeroflot “to carry out regular flights from Moscow to Tunisia (up to seven a week),” Nikolayev said.
Tunisian Tourism Minister Habib Ammar said on February 6 that 2020 was the worst year in modern Tunisia's tourism history. Tourism industry revenues decreased by 64% compared to 2019, the number of tourists arriving in the country decreased by 73%.
At the moment, all citizens arriving in Tunisia are required to provide a PCR test done 72 hours before arrival, as well as to spend at least seven days of quarantine in one of the hotels designated by the authorities at their own expense. Quarantine can be left on the seventh day in case the new PCR test is negative.
According to the Ministry of Health, since the beginning of the pandemic in Tunisia, more than 217 thousand cases of COVID-19 have been recorded, more than 175 thousand people have recovered, and more than seven thousand patients have died.