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Tunisia welcomes first cruise ship since last year 2015

MS Europa’s arrival raises hopes of a revival in nation’s tourism trade after it nosedived following the deaths of 59 holidaymakers



German tourists ride camels after disembarking in Tunis from the cruise ship MS Europa. Photograph: Mohamed Messara/EPA.

The first cruise ship to visit Tunisia since 59 tourists were killed in two terrorist attacks last year docked this week in La Goulette, the port of the capital, Tunis.

The arrival of MS Europa has boosted hopes for a revival of the country’s tourism industry, which nosedived following the deadly beach attack in the resort of Sousse in June 2015 in which 38 holidaymakers died, and another attack in March 2015 when 21 tourists were killed by gunmen at the city’s Bardo museum, one of the country’s main draws for foreign visitors.

The ship, carrying more than 300 passengers, mostly Germans, was greeted on Thursday by musicians, dancers, camels and Tunisia’s minister for tourism, Selma Elloumi Rekik. Local traders presented disembarking holidaymakers with garlands of jasmine.

Security was tight for the visit, with armed police and soldiers visible around the city’s medina, a Unesco-listed world heritage site, and other tourist attractions.

Tunis was a regular stop on the Mediterranean cruise schedule until the 2011 revolution, which sparked the wave of uprisings across the Middle East known as the Arab spring. Last year’s attacks, which Islamic State said it carried out, were a further blow for the struggling sector.

Before 2011, the tourism industry contributed 7% of Tunisia’s GDP and directly employed 400,000 people. Dozens of beach resorts have closed since the Sousse attack after European countries warned citizens to stay away. Tour operators and charter airlines struck the north African country off their destination lists.

The British Foreign Office still advises against all but essential travel, saying the “threat from terrorism in Tunisia is high. Further attacks remain highly likely, including against foreigners.”

Malek Ghanemi, the head of La Goulette’s cruise liner terminal, told Agence France-Presse: “The arrival of the liner Europa does not in itself signal the resumption of cruise liner activities in Tunisia. But it’s very important because it sends out a positive and reassuring message.”

Some politicians have argued that Tunisia needs to develop a new tourism strategy, targeting wealthy visitors rather than offering cheap, resort-based holidays.

A cruise operator registered in Switzerland is planning a stopover in Tunis in January, according to the tourism ministry.

DAR EL BHAR

The Medina of Hammamet is one of the most beautiful in the world, completely surrounded by a wall that defends the Mediterranean, would be floating in the sea like a ship.
Located on the wall and looking out over the Gulf of endless white beaches, Dar El Bahr is the first major window of this imaginary ship, in which pride Sidi Bou Hdid dome, next to the house, resting on the bow.
Adapted to the mild forms of Arab coast constructs the house maintains an air of absolute white light covering walls, domes and traditional style floors. The internal floors are marble and fully crossed arches of some of its rooms are supported on columns and granite stone recovered in a sensual fusion of Arabic and Roman Mare Nostrum fishing life by the sea.
Taking inspiration from the fabulous summers 70s in Hammamet enjoyed the first European travelers, decoration allows the coexistence of plastic Panton functionality with modest whitewashed wood furniture musharabía of local crafts.
A courtyard style vertebra Arab houses that make up the two floors housing. On the street level floor is the master suite and a guest room. On the first floor are the kitchen, another guest room, dining room, living room and another in the summer sitting room is completely open to the outside neighbor to the terrace overlooking the sea and where there is a small pool. Crown the house flanked by two terraces fort and lighthouse where the view over the bay and the dome of Sidi Bou Hdid is spectacular.
Entering through the door framed by a beautiful ancient marble relief, found himself the central courtyard of Arab houses that distributes stays, a resting bench at the entrance and one in the center invite rest and nap. On this floor are the magnificent suite and a guest room. A stone fountain gives soul to the space with the soft sound of water, a huge sculpture representing a tasbih welcomes us at the bottom of the stairs leading to the first floor.

PATIO

Entering through the door framed by a beautiful ancient marble relief, found himself the central courtyard of Arab houses that distributes stays, a resting bench at the entrance and one in the center invite rest and nap. On this floor are the magnificent suite and a guest room. A stone fountain gives soul to the space with the soft sound of water, a huge sculpture representing a tasbih welcomes us at the bottom of the stairs leading to the first floor. 

SUITE

Two levels make this space: the sleeping area is composed two twin beds, lavishly wrapped by many cushions, has satellite TV, the area is home to a hot bath for up to 4 people with jacuzzi, a massage bed, a shower two sinks and a toilet. TV with satellite connection. The spacious suite has a small room-in closet with shelves, a seat, mirror and wardrobe with safe and a bureau with another seat and computer and internet WI-FI.

THE TERRACE

The location of Dar El Bahr is privileged and the panoramic view offered: the bay, the dome, the fort and the lighthouse.
There is a rest area where covered, cushioned feel alone in the immensity of the sky and sea. On moonless nights the view of the stars is impressive.
There is also a bar that serves bar area for unforgettable evenings.
At another level becomes the terrace solarium, two chairs recovered from the sixties invite tan and joy.
For more information visit:  http://www.darelbhar.com