[Get to know MEDUSA's territories] Daher Destination- Tunisia
This article forms part of a series of publications under MEDUSA project to promote less-known natural and cultural touristic assets in our partner territories Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Puglia (Italy) and Catalonia (Spain).
Enjoy reading and hope to welcome you soon at one of the wonderful places you will get to know here.
Interview with the executive director of the Authentic Tourism Federation of the Dahar (FTADD) Mr. Mohamed Hedi Kallali.
Question 1: what’s the definition of adventure tourism in Dahar destination from your point of view?
Adventure tourism is considered as one of the components of the so-called alternative, responsible, and sustainable tourism. This category is characterized by the same properties and there are many common points and elements. For me adventure tourism encompasses several activities, such as hiking, trekking, trails, camping and so on. In addition to exposure to nature, we can even talk about adrenaline tourism, notably emotional and adventurous activities. Dahar destination has many attractive assets, such as the “Big cross of Dahar”, and the authentic accommodation named “Troglodyte cave”. We always talk about new experiences, particularly traditional meals & food like “Hariga”, a hot and spicy sauce, and local and traditional dishes made by the indigenous communities, “the Tamazight”.
Q2: What’s the role that the adventure tourism is playing in the local economic & social development, specifically in a particular context (disadvantaged and less developed regions)? To what extent does AT contribute to the local economy? Are there any positive incomes, and what are AT’s perspectives on this region?
Adventure tourism in Dahar destination is considered the most important pillar within the overall framework of alternative tourism. In Dahar destination, we only have AT as a crucial potential for developing tourism in the region. The local and social economies take benefit from the incomes of AT because this component involves local communities into the cycle of touristic products and offers. Service providers are creating a local dynamic when they involve locals in the supply chain of their offers. For example, they sell staff made by locals, they organize hiking routes where tourists discover and get involved in the locals’ daily lives. The low capacity for guest houses & accommodation services facilitates the integrations of local communities in the cycle of the offer. Most of the providers are connected to them; they sometimes recommend other providers in order to meet demand during high season (winter and spring). A particular characteristic of this region is its people’s community spirit, whereby they share benefits. Providers buy goods from locals to meet to tourist demand. Networking, synergy, and solidarity are keys to the success of tourism in Dahar destination.
Q3: What are the Dahar destination’s points of strength? In addition to the common activities (Hiking, camping, culture, foods, etc)
The destination offers a unique & authentic experience in North Africa with its location, on the side of the Tamazight communities, and its cultural, natural, historical, and geological potential, making Dahar destination unique among Tunisian destinations, and its products are novel compared to other destinations. Its landscape and colors are different; so are its the farming systems are. Water management systems and practices, house construction, diversity, and the uniqueness of the region offer tourists a meaningful and unique experience. The local communities are hospitable, and people are proud of their assets. They involve tourists in their traditional and cultural activities, pastoral or otherwise. More than 260Km of tracks, olive harvesting sites, traditional oil production sites, and other agricultural activities, such as traditional cereal harvesting, come together to mark the authentic and unique experience of the Dahar destination.
Q4: Impact of COVID-19:
Some providers affirm that they have been negatively impacted by the pandemic; however, others are taking advantage of this crisis and have increased their income during this period. Tunisian tourists are visiting and staying in Dahar destination.
The particularity of the region is that the area is open and capacity of providers conforming to the sanitary and social distancing regulations (offering the possibility to the tourist to stay in safety with less contact) is low.
In addition, local providers have small businesses, which make them more resilient and less vulnerable to economic crises.
Q5: Challenges to develop AT in Dahar Destination
Promotion is a key element; raising awareness about nature conservation, and creating capacity for providers to offer adventurous, sustainable, and responsible tourism. Marketing, product packaging, and promotion are key elements, as well as the promotion of the touristic potential of AT. Moreover, the legal and institutional framework, notably for local guides and other activities, need improvement.
The strategic support from the government is a crucial element to AT’s strengthen. This support is highly dependent on legal and institutional frameworks, in addition to the economic support to the SMEs. Technical, legal and financial support for providers needs to be improved.
Q6: potentialities in the region
There are more than 10 potentialities related to the activities (astronomy, geological, natural and more) that could be promoted and developed in the region.