Tunisia Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Tunisia
How safe is Tunisia?
Threat level: Medium-High
There has been a significant increase in terrorist activities and attacks in the past few years, with several attacks targeting tourists; making it likely for terrorists to conduct more attacks in Tunisia in the future. The general travel safety advice for Tunisia is to remain vigilant at all times, especially around religious sites and follow advices from local security authorities.
The security situation in Tunisia is unstable and a State of Emergency is in place since November 2015.
Tunisia's neighbour, Libya, experiences high levels of terrorism and suffer from a lack of security. The borders between the countries are porous, allowing terrorist activity to spill over into the country. For this reason, you should avoid travelling to the East and South areas of Tunisia that are within 30km of the borders with Algeria and Libya.
The borders between Tunisia and Libya and Tunisia and Algeria have seen an increase of Tunisian security forces, as it tries to combat the cross-border violence and terrorist threat. Borders can be closed at any time with very little warning.
On Monday the 29th of October 2018, a female suicide bomber struck in the city centre of Tunis, blowing herself up and injuring 9 people including 8 policemen. The attack took place in the very busy Habib Bourguiba Avenue area of Tunis, just before 2pm local time. It has been reported that the bomber was not known to the authorities, and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On the 08th of July 2018, militants killed six Tunisian security guards in Ghardimaou near the border with Algeria.
On the 31st of March 2018, a man with a knife attacked and injured two tourists in El Kef. The suspect was arrested.
On the 1st of November 2017, a knife attack was carried out by an individual against two policemen in Tunis. The suspect was arrested and one of the victims died from his injuries.
On the 11th of May 2016, 4 Tunisian policemen were killed in suicide bombing during a raid in Tataouine, following the death of two suspected terrorists in Mnihla few hours earlier.
Early March 2016 saw clashes between Tunisian Security forces and militants, resulting in large numbers of recorded deaths.
There were 3 significant attacks in Tunisia throughout 2015. In November 2015, a bombing on a bus carrying the presidential bodyguards in central Tunis, killed 12 people.
In June 2015, attacks on the tourist hotel and beaches in Port El Kantaoui, 10km north of Sousse, killed 38 (mostly British citizens) and wounded a further 39 tourists and locals.
The 2015 “Sousse attack” was not the first in Tunisia, nor was it the first aimed at tourists. In March 2015, a terrorist attack targeting the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, killed 21 tourists.
In October 2013, a suicide bomber blew himself up while attempting to gain access to the Riadh Palms Hotel in Sousse.
It is believed that tourist destinations and western nationals remain key targets of attack and as such, visitors should remain on high alert at all times and avoid areas where large volumes of people may gather.
The general crime level is Tunisia is on par with many other countries in the region. Pick-pocketing and robbery targeting tourists in not uncommon and there have been reported cases of women travellers being harassed by locals. Although this is rare, it is advised that women do not travel alone.
Tunisia's International Relations
The Arab uprising (2011 Jasmine Revolution) which began in Tunisia has seen the Middle East region transform over the past five years. Tunisia has tried to stabilise the region after the uprisings triggered by high unemployment, food shortages, government corruption, poor living conditions and a lack of freedom and has supported the development of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) among other initiatives.
Travelling around Tunisia
Road conditions in Tunisia are not up to Western standards and drivers can be erratic and ignore road regulations. Pedestrian crossings are sparse and road users often have little regard from them. You should be extremely cautious as both a driver and a pedestrian.
It is highly advised that you do not drive after dark, as many vehicles do not have sufficient light and/or reflectors, making them difficult to see at night time.
There are a number of Police and military check points throughout the country. Travellers should ensure that they have either passport or proof of ID with them, when travelling by road. Road conditions can vary and the standard of driving in Tunisia is, as with other countries in the region, quite poor.
Emergency services in Tunisia
Police emergency: 197
Tourist Police: 126
Fire emergency: 198
Medical emergency: 190
Currency: Tunisian dinar
Time now in Tunis:
Consular information for Tunisia
U.S. Embassy Tunis
Les Berges du Lac,
Telephone: +216 7110 7000
Rue du Lac Windermere,
Les Berges du Lac,
Telephone: +216 7110 8700
Visa requirements for Tunisia
The visa requirements for Tunisia can be complex. Visitors from the UK do not require a visa for entry for the first three months, but visitors from the US do require visa. An up-to-date list of countries that do or do not require visas can be found here: Visa Check Tunisia
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Tunisia are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You should check with your local health professional prior to your departure, if you are unsure.
You are required to pay for all medical treatment in Tunisia and this is often demanded before treatment occurs. Medical costs can be expensive, so you should ensure that you purchase adequate travel insurance. Services in the main cities tend to be good and resourceful, however rural areas may vary.
To prevent any illness, personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold, which has led to avoidable illnesses.