TUNIS, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tourist market would be a significant factor to revive Tunisian tourism industry, Tunisian Minister of Tourism said Thursday during a session of parliamentary hearing.
Salma Elloumi, Tunisian Minister of Tourism, said Tunisia received around 16,000 Chinese tourists until Nov. 10 this year, an increase of 190 percent compared with the same period last year.
"While in 2016, the total number of Chinese tourists in Tunisia only reached around 7,300. The data shows a significant increase of Chinese emerging market. China is known as the largest emitter of tourists abroad, which exceeds 100 million each year," Salma said.
With a history of over 3,000 years, Tunisia is rich in tourism resources.
Since mid-February this year, Tunisia has exempted Chinese citizens from entry visas to visit the country.
"During the first three months of this year, the Chinese market has recorded an increase of 400 percent," Salma said.
Investors and promoters also see the opportunity and want to take advantage of this potential tourist market.
Jesus Martins, a 47-year-old Spanish producer and director, who has been based in Tunisia for seven years, now is producing a television magazine targeting Chinese market.
"Eight months ago, I realized more and more Chinese tourists appear in Tunisia," Jesus told Xinhua, explaining his motivation to produce this TV magazine.
"It will present Tunisia with tourist, gastronomic, archaeological, cultural, environmental and civilization winks," Jesus said. "Presenting the Tunisian heritage and also show investment potential in this North African country."
"China plays an important role in the global economy. This TV magazine will be a timely opportunity for Tunisian investors to display their products in China, to attract this high value-added market," Jesus said.
Imen Zine, a journalist of the Tunisian magazine L'économiste Maghrébin, has been focusing on opportunities to strengthen relations between Tunisia and China, particularly to attract Chinese tourists.
"What measures should Tunisia take to meet Chinese tourists' expectations? For example, Chinese cooking habits and lifestyles are quite different, besides the language barrier and the lack of a direct airline," Imen said.
"There are other destinations such as United Arab Emirates and Qatar, similar to Tunisia, but with advantage of more facilities for transport, payment and purchase. Tunisian tourism sector should plug gaps in order to consolidate the Chinese tourist market," Imen said.