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Amel Karboul (Tunisia): "Breaking the vicious cycle of a low price policy!"

Interview with Tunisia's Minister of Tourism

"Tourism suffers structurally, we must seek to resolve the debt of hotel owners and break the vicious cycle of a low price policy. Our pockets are filled with new studies and strategies. It is now time to take action...” The new minister of tourism in Tunisia, Amel Karboul, lays out her master plan to

Rédigé par Michèle SANI traduit par Joséphine FOUCHER le Jeudi 27 Février 2014

Amel Karboul (Tunisia): "Breaking the vicious cycle of a low price policy!" - You bring a new perspective on Tunisian tourism. What is your first analysis of it and what are your priorities for action?

Amel Karboul: "The situation of our tourism is quite clear to everybody. We must nevertheless remain positive. Tourism suffers structurally. We must change the way it is managed.”

We must upgrade its quality on all levels. It is too mono cultural and depends only seaside tourism.

Our visitors come on holiday to our seaside hotels that could be found anywhere in the world when we have a lot of material and immaterial wealth beyond just that.

We do not capitalize enough on our heritage. We need to work on the image of our country and its regions, as well as on our communication ... " - In view of the announced deadlines for the upcoming elections, the government team you belong to is short on time, with less than a year, as they say. What actions will you commit to in the short term?

Amel Karboul: "I have no intention of settling on only short-term actions, the situation is serious, and even in a short time, it is possible to act on the medium and why not on the long run. Why not think about Tunisia 2025? " - What will your priorities be?

Amel Karboul: "Certainly cleanliness, environmental consciousness such as cleaning our beaches and resorts. We must modernize our tourist institutions, like the Ministry of ONTT (National Tunisian Tourist Office, Editor's note) .

And why should we wait to begin diversifying our tourism industry, like developing our cultural sites in collaboration with the Minister of Culture, creating new circuits, opening guest houses, or expanding eco-tourism?

There is a significant issue that nobody has really tried to deal which is the debt of our hotel owners. We must break the vicious cycle of low price policy. Our pockets are filled with studies and strategies. It is now time to take action. " – As a professional business coach, how will you organize your ministry and the ONTT?

Amel Karboul: "I need performing employees and I met fantastic people in this ministry. I am proud to work with them. I know that talking about reorganization is frightening. People are afraid of losing their jobs . . . .

For me it is the opposite. I want to promote jobs, empower employees. It is useless to always seek to intervene directly with the minister whose position I hold.

Every individual, at his or her level, must fulfill his or her mission. I’m referring particularly to our representatives abroad. My priorities are here in Tunisia. "

Amel Karboul is the fourth minister of Tunisian tourism in the last 3 years.

The new Minister of Tourism of Tunisia gives an image of Tunisian women that we adhere to. Dynamic, modern, a woman of conviction, and courageous. And courage is necessary for this position.

As a key player in the Tunisian economy, tourism is experiencing the worst crisis in its history and this crisis was not revealed in the aftermath of January 14, 2011. It has lasted for years but the subject was taboo.

The fall of Ben Ali has broken the silence. The "revolution" has worsened the drift and the disastrous consequences of bargain prices on the "tourism product.”

It also showed the heaviness and the limits of a dedicated administration that failed or was unable to seek out its assets to find the necessary momentum.

Amel Karboul is the fourth minister of tourism in Tunisia in three years. She comes from civil society. She has traveled much, lived and worked abroad, particularly in Germany. Prior to developing an expertise as a business coach, she worked in multinational companies.

As the first woman to hold this position in her country, she is also the youngest member of the "apolitical" government of Mehdi Jomaa. In operation since January 29, 2014, after the adoption of the new Constitution, it is the fifth transitional government before the presidential, legislative, and municipal elections scheduled before the end the year 2014.

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