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FAST FACTS about TOURISM in TUNISIA


CURRENCY AND SPENDING

The official currency is the Tunisian dinar, which is divided into 1,000 millimes. Just to give an indication, 1 dinar (DT) was worth approximately £ 0,70 sterling in 1995, but the exchange rate does vary.

All the major credit cards are accepted in the main hotels, large restaurants, airline companies , travel agents, souks (especially when buying carpets). Service stations, small restaurants and hotels, and market stalls do not accept them yet.

Visitors can withdraw emergency money in banks is most od the major towns if they present a credit card and proof of identity. Cash point machines in the main towns do not work with foreign credit cards, even when they have a " Visa" sign.

As the cost of living is relatively low in Tunisia foreign visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find that they can spend their holidays in most advantageous coditions. Hotels and restaurants are between a third and half the price of equivalent establishements in Europe, not to mention the perticularly competitive airline and package tour prices . Visitors ought to take advantage of the opportunity to by some souvenirs, especially carpets which are cheaper than in Europe.

As in all the African countries, haggling is a "national sport" in tunisia, and can be quite a game in the souks. As the initial price asked for will always be up to double the item's real value, do not be afraid to bring the price down by suggesting much lower prices. The negotiation will then be underway, and each party has to make successive concessions, thus reducing the divide until an average price is reached that everyone is happy with. A game punctuated with a few minor coups de theātre will often end up around a mint tea with newfound friends.


CUSTOMS

No specific vaccination are required. Some health organisations do recommend, however, that visitors to hot countries be vaccinated against typhoid hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tetanus, and polio.

Visitors require a valid passport when entering Tunisia. Non-European visitors must check for visa requirements. Visas can be obtained from the Tunisian ambassy and can take up to there weeks to obtain. Customs allow visitors to bring their personnel effects and sporting equipment into the country , along with 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars, or 400 grammes of tobacco), and a botle of spirits.


HEALTH AND HYGIENE

A little medical kit is always a good idea. It should contain: some mercurochrome, antiseptic lotion or surgical spirits, sterilized compresses and plasters, scissors, cotton wool, a serum for poisonous bites, mosquito repellant and anti-histamine cream (for calming itchy insect bites), suntan lotion and after-sun for calming sunburn, aspirin, talc, Intetrix or other medication for upset stomachs, and Alka-Seltzer. People taking regular medication at home should remember to bring sufficient quantities with them. Most European medication can be found in the pharmacies.


PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Seventy-six regular coach routes set out from Tunis and the main towns and run throughout Tunisia.

In the capital, the SNTN (Socitete nationale bus service along 155 bus routes (4,500 km).

Furthermore, the private company TCV (Transports en commun de voyageurs) offerts its users a minibus service (about ten buses) from the suburbs to the town centre (the fare is higher than the bus fare, but these minibuses are more comfortable).

Tunis is currently the only town in Tunisia to be equipped with a metro ("tube") services. This is in fact an "overground" service, which is more like a tramway than a metro, but does have its own lanes (like bus lanes). Run by the SMLT (Societe du metro de Tunis), it is a 30 km network with several lines: the northern line goes to Ariana (the airport), the western lines go to the Bardo, the University campus, and the cite Ibn Khaldoun, and the southern line goes to Ben Arous.


TAXIS

A great deal of urban taxis circulate in the main towns, especially the "petit taxis", (which are not licensed to take more than 3 passengers, carry large luggage or to leave the agglomeration).

The "grand taxis" are allowed to leave the agglomeration (be warned!: the return journey is billed even if there are no passengers left).There are also the cheap communal taxis ("voitures de louage") which only leave once they are full (4 to 6 passengers), and which assure regular services between several of the towns.


BEACHES AND SUN BATHING

Below is a short list of Tunisia's beaches and seaside resorts classed according to the region for all sun bathing fans:


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