Tunisia, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean region, will implement an electronic visa system in late 2017 or 2018. By launching this system the North African country hopes to encourage tourism and thus spur economic growth in a region that has seen numbers drop due to recent political unrest.
Electronic visa programs, already in widespread use around the world in places such as India, Canada, and Australia, make it easier for tourists of all nationalities to visit a destination country for short-term stays.
Health Tourism in Tunisia
The Tunisian National Commission is currently studying the implementation and feasibility of such a system, according to the Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts Salma Elloumi Rekik. At a recent event in Tunisia, Minister Rekik also said that one of the principal goals behind the creation of the electronic visa system is to not only encourage tourism, but also to ease the entry requirements for the primarily African patients who are seeking medical care in Tunisia.
Thalassotherapy, the therapeutic use of seawater, attracts people from all over Africa and the world to Tunisia. With nearly 50 thalassotherapy centers, Tunisia ranks second only to France in this ancient medical therapy method. Tunisian medicine is also well-respected in this region of the world.
Benefits of the Tunisian e-Visa
Currently, patients that come from certain African countries must first visit a Tunisian consulate in a different country to obtain the requisite visa prior to visiting Tunisia. The electronic visa program would make it much easier for such patients to get the medical care they are seeking, as it would largely eliminate the need to visit a consulate, saving time and money.
With the growing demand for quality medical services and the increase in so-called health tourists, Tunisia was forced to keep pace with the trends and consider implementing an electronic visa system, Minister Rekik explained. This also includes a review of the country’s thalassotherapy centers to attract even more tourists.
Mehdi Ben Abdallah, president of the Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce, also believes that the electronic visa program will have a significant impact towards facilitating access to health facilities for foreign patients.
By implementing an electronic visa program, Abdallah said, Tunisia can keep the advantage that it has over its neighbors in the region: low prices. By eliminating costly trips to the consulate and by launching an online electronic visa application, Tunisia hopes to foment growth.