In hopes of salvaging summer along its thousands of kilometres of Mediterranean coastline, Tunisia is reopening its borders to international visitors at the end of the month. Algerians and Europeans – including British tourists – will be permitted back into the country from 27 June, and a further announcement about conditions of entry into the country is expected next week.

Tunisia was locked down in mid-March and has recorded zero new coronavirus cases since 2 June, as well as one of the lowest numbers of cases per capita of any country on the Mediterranean.

The Ministry of Tourism has launched a compulsory health protocol and is certifying all tourism-related businesses, including hotels, restaurants, cafes and museums, with a ‘Ready and Safe’ label. Accommodation will be permitted to operate at 50% capacity, and visitors cannot have a temperature over 37.9°C, which will be checked on arrival at the airport as well as at hotels. Masks are mandatory for staff, as well as for visitors in enclosed spaces.

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The white and blue coloured buildings of the seaside town, Sidi Bou Said © Valery Bareta / Shutterstock

Tourism has been on a promising trajectory in the last few years, with an increase in flights from Europe to Tunisia and new country-wide itineraries from tour operators, covering sights from ancient Roman ruins to abandoned Star Wars sets. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and a recent forecast showed that it could shrink by 7% this year, the largest decline since the country’s independence from France in 1956. Lonely Planet named Tunisia one of 2020’s best value destinations.

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