Tunisian Islamist Party Ennahdha Calms, Courts Tourism Professionals

News article, posted 12.02.2011, from Tunisia, in:
Hassine Bouazra
Tunisian Islamist Party Ennahdha Calms, Courts Tourism Professionals (Photo: LeTemps.com.tn)

Summary: In early November, prominent members of the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahdha met with professionals of the tourism industry to alleviate concerns and discuss the sector's future.  Hamadi Jebali, the Ennahdha Movement's Secretary General, reiterated his party's "reformist approach, based on dialogue" and promised to work to regain the confidence of the industry's international partners.

Ridha Saïdi, Ennahdha's head of planning and programs, noted the major importance of the tourism sector for the Tunisian economy, calling it "a principle motor behind the growth of our economy."  He described the tourism sector as responsible for 6% of the GDP, while it provides employment, directly or indirectly, to 12% of the working population.

Saïdi also described Ennahdha's plan to enrich and diversify the Tunisian brand, improve aerial transportation options, and better market the country's ecological and cultural riches. Saïdi also described the party's  support for the traditional tourism markets, while emphasizing Ennahdha's desire to move into new markets, including the American, Japanese, Canadian, Arab and "Islamic" markets.

The article's author concludes by musing that, during the initially tense gathering, "a general sentiment of measured optimism emerged. The diagnosis of weaknesses has been done. For a first contact with the profession it was a success."