Tunisia's tertiary sector (services) is booming and is both the country's major employer (36% of working population are involved in this sector), and th country's major producer (accounting for over 50% of the Gross National Product).
Tourism tops the services sector, with over 4 million European tourists a year (Germans, Italians, French, Spanish). The fully expanding touristry has become the country's first « export » activity (guarantying an influx of currencey), as its revenues cover over 60% of unisia's trade deficit. It is also one of the country's major employerswith 44,000 people working in the tourist industry and hotels, and 300,00 people indirectly involved.
Tunisia is now the « blue ribbon » of African tourism, a long way ahead of Africa's other major tourist countries (Morocc, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal).
It owes this success both to all its natural qualities - it is a little, peaceful country, with beautiful beaches and an astonishing cultural and artistic patrimony - and to the dynamism of the public authorities and the private sector who work in close collaboration.
The public authorities - the Ministry for Tourism and the branches of the ONTT (office National du Tourism Tunisien) - are in charge of promoting and publicising Tunisian tourism abroad. At the same time, they make considerable efforts to upkeep and restore tourist sites in the country (renovation of the Tunis and Sfax medinas, renovation and creation of diverse museums, etc.)
For several years now, private Tunisian investors have undertaken a bold policy to develop the hotel network, sometimes with the support of foreign loans. They have thus built a lot of quality hotels and holidays resorts, first all along the Mediterranean coast (Djerba island, Nabeul and Hammamet), and then inland.
Tunisian tourism has taken on a new espect of late. In addition to the more classic beach networks, inland tourism is beign greatly encouraged. The aim is for foreign visitors to discover the wonders of the inlandregions, for example to numerous vestiges of Roman towns (Dougga, Bulla Regia, Sufetula, Thuburbo Majus, El Djem, etc.) and the major cultural centres (Kairouan, for example).
The deep Saharan south with its Beber villages, nomads and unusual architecture (the Matmata troglodytic dwellings and the Ksour in the Tataouine region ) is a tourist region to be promoted.
The public authorities are lucky anough to be able to count on the private sector to carry out such tourist developments, which now involve the whole country. The private sector has already most courageously begun building in the regions of the future which are still largely unknown to tourists, like the deep Saharan south or the Tabarka coast right in the north.