Lonely Planet Writer

Tunisia tours are back as this operator expands its Middle East & North Africa itineraries

Tour operator Intrepid Travel is returning to Tunisia, as travellers show a growing curiosity in visiting the region.

Tunisia has seen a huge surge of travel interest this year. Photo by Romas_Photo/Shutterstock

They report that the Middle East and North Africa is surging in popularity, and have added five new itineraries because of the increased demand. Turkey and Egypt saw the largest number of bookings (up by 197% and 150% respectively). Jordan (146%) and Israel (101%) have also seen renewed interest. This trend mirrors the locations on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s list of fastest-growing destinations.

“It’s great to see destinations like Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt making a comeback”, Aaron Hocking, Intrepid’s UK managing director, said. “The region has so much to offer, whether you’re trekking with Bedouin tribespeople in the Sahara or cruising the Nile on a felucca.”

A caravan of camels walking through the sands of the Sahara Desert in Tunisia. Photo by Dmitry Eagle Orlov/Shutterstock

Intrepid’s new Tunisia trip takes in the highlights of the country, such as the blue-and-white clifftop village of Sidi Bou Said, the incredible Roman ruins at Dougga and a visit to Tunisia’s southern Sahara, but it also goes to off-the-beaten-track spots that most tour operators and even independent travellers don’t visit, such as the charming town of Le Kef and the imposing plateau of Jugurtha’s Table.

Lonely Planet also returned to Tunisia this year to update its content for the first time in almost a decade. The country’s tourism industry was shattered in 2015 by a set of terrorist attacks, after already limping along in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions. Following a security overhaul, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office relaxed its advice on visiting Tunisia in July 2017 and again this past June.

Jordan and Egypt’s southern Nile valley were also named top places to visit in 2019 on Lonely Planet’s just-released Best in Travel list.