Tunisia

Tunisia-Tourist-scamsTo many European tourists, Tunisia is an excellent alternative for the politically unstable Egypt, and that makes it one of the most popular holiday destinations in Africa. Temperatures are perfect in spring and autumn, prices are extremely low and flights from most European cities are not more than a couple of hours. As a result, the number of all-inclusive resorts has increased spectacularly alongside the beautiful Mediterranean beaches. But unlike some other resort-heavy tourist destinations, it is relatively safe outside the resorts. Tunisia is a modern country, unmistakably Arabic with its ancient, intriguing towns, bustling souks and medinas, where tourists can browse for silver and gold jewelry, hand-made rugs, and typical herbs and spices.

Tunisia-Tourist-rip_offsTunisia is the smallest country in Africa and although the Sahara desert covers the greatest part of the country, it has a lot of natural beauty to offer. Thanks to the unique and impressive landscape, especially the dry plains which are sometimes compared to lunar landscapes, the country has been the setting for major Hollywood productions like the Gladiator, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Arc.

You’ll also find magnificent beaches in Tunisia, the most popular tourist destinations are at the Mediterranean sea: Tunis, Sousse, Hammamet and Hurgada. One of the special features of Sousse is the port which is situated right in the center of town. This can lead to impressive situations when an enormous cruise ship enters the port.

Surprisingly, Tunisia is so varied that it’s attractive to both the relaxing and the active tourist. As in many similar countries, the majority of the population lives in the coastal towns. So the further you venture into the interior, the quieter it will get, and the friendlier the people will be. Especially for the active traveler, there’s a lot to discover; like beautiful canyons or authentic Berber villages that lie in the distant mountains.

Tunisia tourist scams

However, as in every tourist hotspot, tourists need to be aware of people trying to take advantage of the “all is well” holiday atmosphere which causes the traveler to be off guard when it comes to being tricked or scammed. The differences in culture and habits can be a bit confusing, even to the experienced traveler, and that gives those with dishonest intentions an advantage, especially with travelers who have just arrived after a long and exhausting flight.

  • Many female tourists are approached by local men trying to seduce them into a relationship, but instead of looking for love, they’re after money or a European visa. Most of them simultaneously play multiple women to increase their chances of hitting the jackpot: marriage and a ticket out of the country.
  • Don’t believe anyone who offers to take you to a store with special promotions or discounts, as you are actually more likely to pay too much for your purchases, as your newly acquired “friend” takes a commission for bringing you in.
  • If you’re no expert in antiques or jewellery, be careful when shopping in Tunisia, as there’s a lot of fake and counterfeit merchandise on offer, indistinguishable to the untrained eye, but worth much less than what you’ll pay for it.

Most of these scams are pretty harmless and won’t cost you more than a handful of Dinar, but they could still make you feel like an idiot as soon as you realize you’ve been tricked.

Tourist-scams-TunisiaBe on guard for these known scams and variations to them. If you happen to run into a new kind of scam, or if you have a story about how the swindlers work, make sure you tell us about it. That’s the best way to warn other travelers and to prevent them from falling into the same traps.

And most importantly: just enjoy your vacation. Don’t be discouraged by these stories, they don’t happen to everyone, and they don’t mean Tunisia is unsafe. On the contrary, most of the people are incredibly friendly, sincere and honest, especially away from the tourist hotspots, and Tunisia is one of the most enjoyable Mediterranean destinations.

 

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