The Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) on Tuesday approved the budget of the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts for the year 2024 with 130 votes in favour, 9 abstentions and 5 votes against.
Responding to questions from MPs, the Minister of Tourism, Mohamed El Moez Belhassine, stressed the economic importance of the tourism and handicrafts sector, which accounts for 9% of GDP and provides some 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. The handicrafts sector alone accounts for around 4% of GDP and employs almost 300,000 craftspeople, with direct exports estimated at TND 149 million.
The Minister added that the strategy adopted for the tourism sector is based in particular on its modernisation, good governance and diversification, the development of the training system, the stimulation of demand for Tunisia as a tourist destination and the improvement of the quality of the crafts sector.
The strategic vision aims to support research and innovation through the development of businesses, the promotion of inv
estment and the improvement of product quality to ensure that they are marketed both inside and outside the country.
Belhassine noted that the budget of the Ministry of Tourism is low, estimated at TND 180 million (0.003% of the total budget expenditure for missions), in addition to a lack of human resources and a decrease in the number of agents.
He pointed out that the Ministry’s low budget does not allow it to overcome the challenges it faces, especially the fierce competition, the problems of cleanliness and environmental protection, the indebtedness of the hotel sector and the low budget allocated to the promotion of tourism. The latter has a negative impact on the various promotional and communication campaigns inside and outside the country.
The Minister pointed out that the tourism system in Tunisia should be 100% digitalised, covering all areas related to the sector. The ministry is committed to this process to achieve this goal and is also trying to facilitate procedures for investors by limiting
the number of cumbersome permits for tourism projects, the minister added.
As a first step, three authorisations have already been cancelled and 15 more will be cancelled soon in order to stimulate investment.
Belhassine also stressed the importance of bank financing and the role that banking institutions should play in guaranteeing the necessary funding for projects, as well as providing support and guidance to investors in the sector.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse