Comment: MENATA responds to ‘big two’ Tunisia capacity drops

Comment: MENATA responds to ‘big two’ Tunisia capacity drops

The Middle East & North Africa Travel Association (MENATA) has hit back at tour operators and airlines that have cancelled flights to Arab countries hit by civil unrest. In a response to Thomas Cook and TUI reducing flight capacity to Tunisia, Peter Lilley, executive director of MENATA raised concerns about the region’s tourism industry. “Even quite modest cutbacks in capacity can potentially undermine consumer confidence as it may give the impression that Tunisia has not fully recovered,” said Lilley. “It also, rather perversely, makes the destination more difficult to book for some holidaymakers who do want to go.” Although holidaymakers have returned to Tunisia this week, Thomas Cook has dropped some flights from UK regional airports to the country and TUI is rumoured to  have reduced capacity. “Since bookings to Tunisia have been quite slow to bounce back, it’s understandable that tour operators have had to consider cutting capacity,” said Lilley. “On the other hand, if customers find they are unable to fly direct from their local airport, there’s a good chance they will book to go elsewhere.” He suspected that holidaymakers would be diverted to European destinations instead and urged those involved in Middle East and North Africa tourism to work closely together. “Many Arab tourist destinations including Dubai and Morocco have continued operating as normal,” he added. “And in those countries where there have been protests, it’s vital that potential holidaymakers should be able to access reliable and consistent information, providing reassurance that they will be safe.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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