Tunisia-Algeria: Tension at Border over New Tax

It seems that the Algerians are not happy at all about the decision made by their neighboring Tunisia to impose a 30 TD tax (about €13) on any Algerian wishing to enter the country with his vehicle.

Tension at the border between the two countries is rising and there is no sign it is abating. At the diplomatic level, Deputy Head of Mission of Tunisia in Algeria was summoned Tuesday to the Algerian Foreign ministry where he was received by the Secretary General of the ministry on the issue.

According to press reports, a group of angry Algerians in Tebessa province staged a protest in front of the Consulate of Tunisia. Yet, Tunisian ambassador in Algiers Abdul Majid Ferchich said his country would not repeal the tax, noting that more than half a million Algerians crossed the Tunisian border for the summer holidays during the past two weeks.

He also said that the number of Algerians flocking to Tunisia rose by 158 per cent since the start of the summer season. Border crossings recorded very large flux during this holiday season.

According to experts, Tunisia needs financial backing to support its battered economy due to terror threats. The North African country, which stands out in the Maghreb as a nascent democracy for its successful transition from autocracy to democracy following the 2011 revolution, has seen its democratic efforts challenged by waves of terrorist attacks and threats.

Considered as one of the country’s major economic sectors, the Tunisian tourism industry is battling to recover after the 2011 revolution, which overthrew former leader Ben Ali, now in exile in Saudi Arabia.

With the number of traditional tourists [from France, Germany, UK…] dwindling, Tunisian tourism authorities are pinning high hopes on Algerian and Russian tourists.

Around 450,000 Russian tourists are expected his year while authorities expect to attract around 1.5 million Algerian visitors.

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