Tunisia's primary hard-currency revenue is tourism, and this small country of eleven million people hosted over seven million tourists last year, a record number. Many of them will return again and again to enjoy the mild climate, beautiful beaches and gourmet dining.
There are something like a quarter of a million hotel beds in little Tunisia, most of them concentrated in the capital, Tunis. Still, perhaps the most amazing thing about Tunisia's tourism is that so few of the tourists visiting this charming country are American. Of the seven million tourists who visited Tunisia in 2012, only approx. 25,000 U.S. citizens, many of whom came by boat, stopped only briefly in port. About one-third of one percent of Tunisia's guests are American, and this has been the norm for years now.
Why this is so is a bit of a mystery, and some of it has no doubt to do with the false notion that North Africa is a place of danger. It is a definite fact that since the uprisings known as the "Arab Spring" began in 2010, not a single tourist has been injured, much less killed, as a result of the political upheavals that began in Tunisia with the Jasmine Revolution . Tourism is Tunisia's largest industry. A large number of Tunisians are dedicated to making it work today as well as tomorrow. Tourism is actually Tunisia's main "export" and the source of most of its euro, yen, dollars and other hard money.
There are so many luxury destinations in Tunisia that it is very difficult to focus on a single, but a recent favorite of many advanced visitors is The residence , a palatial hotel and resort complex located on the edge of a sparkling golden beach on the Mediterranean at Gammarth, next to the ancient ruins of Carthage outside Tunis. Carthage, as you may know, was the ancient Roman capital of Africa, and the ruins there are undisturbed, unlike the Roman ruins in Rome, which have been covered by 2000 years of modern accretions.
The residence is an oasis of charm and serenity for the tired and bad smell in the middle of one of the oldest continuously inhabited spots on earth on the entire planet. Remember that Tunisia's history stretches back to an era way before Phoenicians millennia ago to the original Berbers. When you are at The Residence, you feel that you are in the cradle of civilization, a performance greatly enhanced by the creative spirit that is so evident right next to the artists & # 39; colony of Sidi Bou Said, just a stone's throw away.
It wasn't until after a recent tour of Carthage to stroll again among the breathtaking ruins there that I realized how much The residence owes its inspiration to the ancient Roman heated baths, so central to life in ancient Carthage. It was the Romans who developed the use of seawater as a form of therapy, especially seawater that has been heated. Seawater properties are still believed by modern doctors to have a beneficial effect on the skin's pores. IN The residence there is, I believe, the best recreation of a Roman Thalassian spa resort anywhere in the world whose heart is Les Thermes Marins de Carthage , 35,000 square feet in size, surrounded by 30 special cabins for guests, an Oriental hammam , a sauna, two terraces for relaxing between treatments and a majestic dome that covers a recreational swimming pool with seawater.
The palatial architecture of The residence reflects both Moorish and Andalusian influence, so close to the sea, while its interiors are about laid-back elegance with a distinctive Tunisian décor, everything about ivory walls, blonde wood, Alicante marble and rich brocades. Sea views are everywhere.
With only 155 rooms and nine luxury suites, The residence looks palatial when you see it remotely, but it's really small enough so you'll never feel lost in a crowd. And you will delight every day in a rich gastronomic palette of six connected restaurants, allowing you to enjoy fresh seafood, traditional Tunisian and Mediterranean delicacies, authentic Chinese cuisine or, at times, whenever you want easier you can eat al fresco in the Néroli salad bar.
And what will The residence cost you? A double room is available without discounts for 215 euros per night. Night or $ 140 per night Person! You will leave The residence with sadness and a decision to return as soon as possible, and you will enjoy the convenience of Tunis-Carthage International Airport, which is rarely more than 30 minutes by taxi, even on days of traffic. Be sure to check The residence website at current prices and availability.