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Tunisia


Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Tunisian Republic
Capital City: Tunis
Language Spoken: Arabic (official and one of the languages of commerce), French (commerce)

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Geographic data

34 00 N, 9 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Shatt al Gharsah -17 m highest point: Jebel ech Chambi 1,544 m

Land boundaries

total: 1,424 km border countries: Algeria 965 km, Libya 459 km

Natural hazards

NA

Natural resources

petroleum, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt

Land use

arable land: 17.05% permanent crops: 13.08% other: 69.87% (2005)

Environmental current issues

toxic and hazardous waste disposal is ineffective and poses health risks; water pollution from raw sewage; limited natural fresh water resources; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Climate

Tunisia has a warm climate all year. Best periods are spring and autumn. Temperatures can be extremely high inland. Winter is mild and has the highest rainfall. Required clothing Lightweights in summer, mediumweights and rainwear in winter. Sunglasses are advised.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+1 daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Population

10,175,014 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.6% (male 1,293,235/female 1,212,994) 15-64 years: 68.6% (male 3,504,283/female 3,478,268) 65 years and over: 6.7% (male 327,521/female 358,713) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 27.8 years male: 27.3 years female: 28.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.99% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

15.52 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

5.13 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.12 years male: 73.4 years female: 76.96 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business meetings are somewhat formal and suit and tie are generally expected. Arabic and French are the most widely used languages in business circles and knowledge of either is useful. Many Tunisians also speak German, Italian and English. Interpreter services are available. Appointments are required. Office hours are 0800-1230 and 1430-1800 Monday to Friday (winter) and 0800-1300 Monday to Saturday (summer). Government office opening hours may vary by half an hour.

Crime

Tunisia has a moderate crime rate in urban areas. Criminals have targeted tourists and business travelers for thefts, pickpocketings, and scams. Care should be taken with wallets and other valuables kept in handbags or backpacks that can be easily opened from behind in crowded streets or marketplaces. Harassment of unaccompanied females occurs rarely in hotels, but it occurs more frequently elsewhere. Dressing in a conservative manner can diminish potential harassment, but it is wise to travel in groups of two or more. Violent crime is rare, but it is not unknown. Visitors to the Medina (Old City) in Tunis visitors should beware of professional "guides," usually young men or boys who approach tourists with excessive friendliness, insist on showing them the sites, and then demand tips. Buying anything in a shop with a guide in tow will entail a merchant adding a "commission" for the guide. Police are generally quite professional. The police emergency number is 197, but it is often out of service and callers must speak Arabic or French to be understood.

Hotels

Tunisia has plentiful and comfortable hotels, including many business and international-class accommodations. Most business people stay at the Tunis Hilton, al-Mechtel Abou Nawas Hotel or the Meridien. All offer acceptable security and comfort. There are also several vacation villages within each area of the country. Expatriate housing is very comfortable, although prices have been rising. Houses in the Tunis neighborhoods of Mutuelleville, Notre Dame, Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, La Soukra, La Marsa, and Gammarth are comparable to or better than many suburban North American or European communities.

Communications

Full telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 216 and the outgoing international code is 00. Automatic dialing extends to almost every part of the country and covers direct international calls. Area codes for major cities and towns are Tunis 1, Bizerta and Menzel Bourguiba 2, Sousse 3, Gabès 5, Kairouan 7. Fax facilities are available in main towns. Access to high-quality telecommunications services, particularly high-speed / high-capacity data transmission and the Internet, however, is limited and expensive. International telephone rates dropped significantly in 1997, however, and the government licensed the first two private companies to provide Internet access -- the latter move spurring an exponential growth in local subscribers. Post office hours are normally 0800-1300 Monday to Saturday but varies according to the season.

Electricity

is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. A 2-pin continental plug/adapter is needed. Electricity 220/110 volts AC, 50Hz. A two-pin continental plug/adaptor is needed.

Plug Types

C,E

Food And Dining

Tunisian food is well prepared and delicious. Tunisian dishes are cooked with olive oil, spiced with aniseed, coriander, cumin, caraway, cinnamon or saffron and flavored with mint, orange blossom or rose water. Restaurants catering for tourists tend to serve rather bland dishes and 'international' cuisine, and visitors are advised to try the smaller restaurants. Prices vary enormously, and higher prices do not necessarily mean better meals. Tunis and the main cities also have French, Italian and other international restaurants. Self-service may sometimes be found but table service is more common. Moorish cafes, with their traditional decor, serve excellent Turkish coffee. Things to know: Although Tunisia is an Islamic country, alcohol is not prohibited. Tunisia produces a range of excellent table wines, sparkling wines, beers, aperitifs and local liqueurs. National specialties
• Dorado (bream).
• Couscous.
• Tajine (a fish dish).
• Brik or brik à l'oeuf (egg and a tasty filling fried in an envelope of pastry). National drinks
• Mint tea with pine nuts.
• Boukha (wine, distilled from figs).
• Thibarine (wine).

Tipping:
10 per cent for all services.

Nightlife
In Tunisia, the theater season lasts from October to June when local and foreign (especially French) companies put on productions and concerts. International groups appear at the Tunis Theater and in the towns of Hammamet and Sousse. There are numerous cinemas in the larger cities. There are nightclubs in the major tourist resorts and at most beach hotels, as well as in the big city hotels. Belly dancing is a common cabaret feature and lively local bands often play traditional music. Casinos are also availabe in Tunis, Yasmine, Hammamet, Sousse and Djerba.

Entry departure requirements

max.) Yes OtherEU Yes No/1 * Yes Japanese Yes No Yes * Please see visa section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid six months after return date required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following:
(a) 1. nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to three months, except nationals Australia who do need a visa, and nationals of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Slovak Republic, who must travel on a recognized package holiday, and nationals of Cyprus and Estonia who do need a visa;
(b) nationals of Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland with a valid National Identity Card on a recognized package holiday;
(c) nationals of Algeria (unlimited stay), Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria (two months max.), Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Dominica, Fiji, The Gambia* (see Note below), Guinea, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Iceland, Kiribati, Korea (Rep), Libya, Liechtenstein, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic), Malaysia, Maldives, Mali* (see Note below), Mauritania* (see Note below), Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco (unlimited stay), Niger* (see Note below), Norway, Oman, Qatar, Romania, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia & Montenegro, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican City;
Note: Providing holding a sufficient amount of foreign currency to cover their stay.
(d) nationals of the CIS and Turkmenistan for package holidays only, except nationals of Armenia who do need a visa;
(e) transit passengers, provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport or ship. Nationals of Lebanon and Syria must continue by the same or first connecting aircraft within 24 hours after arrival; nationals of other countries must continue their journey within 48 hours of arrival; nationals of Bolivia, China, Colombia, Ghana, Iran, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka need a visa at all times.

Note

2. Nationals of Australia and South Africa, who do need a visa, can obtain it on arrival at the point of entry. Check with the Embassy for details of length of stay.

Types of visa and cost

Short-stay and Transit: US$34

Validity

Short-stay usually for stays of up to three months. Transit: three days. For up-to-date lengths of stay, contact nearest Consulate.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) Photocopy of first five pages of passport and any stamps. (c) Three application forms completed in black ink and capital letters. (d) Two passport-size photos with full name printed on back. (e) Fee (payable by postal order or cash; cheques are not accepted). (f) Registered, stamped, self-addressed envelope for postal application (please ensure that cost of return postage comes to £4.25).

Working days required

Approximately three weeks, for both postal and personal applications.

Temporary residence

For more information, contact the visa section of the Tunisian Embassy (see Passport/Visa Information).

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

None

Embassies

Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in the UK

29 Prince's Gate, London SW7 1QG, UK
Tel: (020) 7584 8117 (for enquiries) or (09065) 508 977 (24-hour visa information line; calls cost £1 a minute).
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 0930-1300 (consular section); Mon-Thurs 0930-1300 (visa submissions).

Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in the USA

1515 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Tel: (202) 862 1850 or 680 6006 (tourism enquiries).
Website: www.tunisiaonline.com

Most visits to Tunisia are trouble-free, but you should be aware of a high threat from terrorism. There was a serious attack on a synagogue in Djerba in 2002, for which Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.

There is little violent crime, but visitors should watch out for petty criminals such as pickpockets, particularly in crowded market places.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

Latest travel advice contacts:
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: www.fco.gov.uk 

US Department of State

Website: http://travel.state.gov/travel 

Currency

Tunisian Dinar (TND) = 1000 millimes. Notes are in denominations of TND30, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of TND1, and 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 millimes.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is strictly prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount imported although re-exchange of local into foreign currency must be only up to 30 per cent of the total imported, up to a maximum of TD100. All currency documentation must be retained.

Banking hours

Mon-Thur 0800-1100 and 1400-1615; Fri 0800-1100 and 1300-1615 (winter); Mon-Fri 0730-1130 (summer).

Currency exchange

All banks change money, as do most hotels of three stars and above.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. There are ATMs in every large town and tourist destination.

Travellers cheques

Readily cashed in banks and the usual authorized establishments; to avoid additional exchange rates, travelers are advised to bring traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

City/Region City/Area code Followed by
Gabes 75 + 6 digits
Gafsa 76 + 6 digits
Kairouan 77 + 6 digits
Kef 78 + 6 digits
Nabeul 72 + 6 digits
Sfax 74 + 6 digits
Sousse 73 + 6 digits
Tunis 71 + 6 digits

Dental care

Some reasonable dental care is available in the capital - Tunis, however try and delay treatment until your return home. Avoid treatment elsewhere as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed

Medication Availability

Supplies of international medications are generally available from both the hospitals and private pharmacies.

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe in Tunisia

Medical facilities

Medical care in Tunisia is available but limited; specialized care or treatment may not be available. Medical staff will most likely be unable to communicate in English. Immediate ambulance service may not be available, especially outside of urban areas. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health care services. Over-the-counter medications are available. However, travelers should bring with them a full supply of medications that are needed on a regular basis.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: unlikely to be a major problem to the traveler; however, some do occur. Dengue fever - occurs Leishmaniasis - occurs Relapsing fever - occurs Sandfly fever - occurs Tungiasis - prevalent Typhus - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: these are endemic. Dysenteries and other diarrheal diseases are common. Brucellosis - common Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - occurs Giardiasis - common Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - common Hepatitis - common Lassa fever - occurs (exists in some rural areas, and people visiting these areas should take particular care to avoid rat-contaminated food or food containers; but the extent of the disease should not be exaggerated) Schistosomiasis - occurs Typhoid fever - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although cases have rarely been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Rabies - occurs Trachoma - occurs

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks
Name Address
Clinique Avicenne 4 Avenue Tahar Sfar El Manar 2 Tunis 2092
Clinique Cardio-vasculaire de Tunis Route X2 Cité El Khadra Tunis 1003
Clinique Carthage Carthage
Clinique de Tunis / El Manar Rue 7151 El Manar 1 Tunis 2092
Clinique El Amen 20 - 22 Rue Azziza Othmana Mutuelleville 1082 Tunis
Clinique El Bassatine 40, Rue Moussa, Cité jardin II Sfax 3002
Clinique ibn Rochd Rue Mongi Slim Nabeul 8000
Clinique Les Berges du Lac Rue Lac de Constance Les Berges du Lac Tunis 2045
Clinique Les Oliviers Boulevard 7 Novembre Sousse 4051
Clinique Les Violettes Route Hammamet-Nabeul Nabeul 8000
Clinique Neurologique de la Soukra Rue Cheikh Mohamed Ennaifer La Soukra 2036
Clinique Ophtalmologique de Tunis Cite El Khadra Voie X2 Tunis 1003
Clinique Saint Augustin 4 Rue Abou Hanifa Mutuelleville Tunis
Clinique Taoufik Bd du 7 Novembre 1987 El Menzeh Tunis 1004
Polyclinique de la Marsa 15 Avenue de la Republique 2070 La Marsa Route de Sidi Bou Said
Polyclinique El Manoir Boulevard du 7 November 1987 El Menzah Tunis 1004
Polyclinique Meignie Route de Mahdia KM1-32 Ave. Habib Buoghatat 3002 Sfax

Media

The government retains a tight hold on local broadcasting and the press, despite freedom of information being 'guaranteed' by the constitution. The internet is also monitored – making the choice of Tunisia for the November 2005 Global Information conference a somewhat controversial one.
Press: Daily newspapers are printed in Arabic or French, the most popular being As-Sabah, La Presse de Tunisie, Le Temps and Tunisia Daily.
TV: ERTT is the state-run broadcaster, owning the stations Tunis 7 and Canal 21. The country's first privately-run commercial station is Hannibal TV, while many satellite channels are popular, particularly those broadcast from Egypt
Radio: State-run Tunisian Radio and privately-owned Radio Mosaique are the principal radio broadcasters.