Officially known as the Republic of Tunisia, Tunisia or Tunis, is the northernmost country in Africa. The Mediterranean Sea lies to its north and to its east. It is also bordered by Algeria to its west and Libya to its southeast. Tunisia’s name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the northeast.
Total area: 163,610 km² (63,170 sq mi)
Population: 10,732,900 (2012 estimate)
Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. Where the southern part of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, the remainder consists of particularly fertile soil and roughly about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) of coastline.
The Tunisian legal system is based on the French civil code and on Islamic law; the judiciary is appointed by the Ministry of Justice. The Code of Personal Status remains one of the most progressive civil codes in the Middle East and the Muslim world. In addition, Tunisia is the only country in the Arab world where polygamy is forbidden by law.
The first people known to history in what is now Tunisia were the Berbers. Numerous civilizations and peoples have invaded, migrated to, and been assimilated into the population over the millennia, with influences of population via conquest from Phoenicians/Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and French.
Some 98% of modern native Tunisians are from a sociological, historical and more importantly, genealogical standpoint mainly of Arab-Berber descent. The tiny European population (of about 1%) consists mostly of French and Italians. There is also a long-established Jewish community in the country, the history of the Jews in Tunisia going back some 2,000 years. In 1948 the Jewish population was an estimated 105,000, but by 2003 only about 1,500 remained.
Tunisia has relations with both the Arab World and the European Union, with the latter having an association agreement. Tunisia is also a member of the the Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union and the African Union. Tunisia has since long established close relations with France in particular, through economic cooperation, privatisation and industrial modernization programs.
Sources: GoAfrica, NationsOnline, Wikipedia
Tunisia's climate is temperate in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south of the country is largely desert and at parts semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. A series of salt lakes, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into Algeria. The lowest point is Shatt al Gharsah, at 17 metres (56 ft) below sea level and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi, at 1,544 metres (5,066 ft).
Though it is relatively small in size, Tunisia has great environmental diversity due to its north-south extent. Its east-west extent is limited. Differences in Tunisia, like the rest of the Maghreb, are largely north-south environmental differences defined by sharply decreasing rainfall southward from any point. The Dorsal, the eastern extension of the Atlas Mountains, runs across Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula in the east. North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, again an extension of mountains to the west in Algeria. In the Khroumerie, the northwestern corner of the Tunisian Tell, elevations reach 1,050 metres (3,440 ft) where snowfall occurs in winter.
Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert. The Sahel, a broadening coastal plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast, is among the world's premier areas of olive cultivation. Inland from the Sahel, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes.
Tunisia has a diverse economy, ranging from agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and petroleum products, to tourism. In 2008 it had a GDP of US $41 billion (official exchange rates), or $82 billion (purchasing power parity). It also has one of Africa and the Middle East's highest per-capita GDPs (PPP). The agricultural sector stands for 11.6% of the GDP, industry 25.7%, and services 62.8%. The industrial sector is mainly made up of clothing and footwear manufacturing, production of car parts, and electric machinery. Although Tunisia managed an average 5% growth over the last decade it continues to suffer from a high unemployment especially among youth.
The European Union remains Tunisia's first trading partner, currently accounting for 72.5% of Tunisian imports and 75% of Tunisian exports. Tunisia is a one of the European Union’s most established trading partners in the Mediterranean region and ranks as the EU’s 30th largest trading partner. Tunisia was the first Mediterranean country to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union and commencing a bilateral EU trade. Tunisia was even progressive enough for finalising the tariffs dismantling for industrial products in 2008 and therefore was the first Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU.
Tunisia was in 2009 ranked the most competitive economy in AFRICA and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum. Tunisia has managed to attract many international companies such as Airbus and Hewlett-Packard. In addition, Tourism accounted for 7% of GDP and about 370,000 jobs in 2009.
Tunisia also attracted large Persian Gulf investments and especially from the UAE and the most significant include:
• Mediterranean gate: a US$ 25 billion project to build a new city in the south of Tunis.
• Tunis Sport City: an entire sports city currently being constructed in Tunis, Tunisia. The city that will consist of apartment buildings as well as several sports facilities will be built by the Bukhatir Group at a cost of $5 Billion.
• Tunis Financial harbour: will deliver North Africa’s first offshore financial centre at Tunis Bay in a project with an end development value of US$ 3 billion.
• Tunis Telecom City: A US$ 3 billion project to create an IT hub in Tunis.
Oil and gas Production
Oil production in Tunisia is about 97,600 barrels per day (15,520 m3/d) along with gas extraction activities. Oil production began in 1966 in Tunisia with the main field being El Bourma. Currently there are 12 oil fields.
Tunisia has plans for two nuclear power stations, to be operational by 2019. Both facilities are projected to produce 900–1000 MW. France is set to become an important partner in Tunisia's nuclear power plans, having signed an agreement, along with other partners, to deliver training and technology.
The Desertec project is a large-scale energy project aimed at installing solar power panels in northern Africa, with a power line connection between it and southern Europe. Tunisia will be a part of this project (2012), but exactly how it may benefit from this remains to be seen.
• The country maintains 19,232 kilometres (11,950 mi) of roads.
• There are 30 airports in Tunisia, with Tunis Carthage International Airport and Monastir International Airport being the most important ones. A new airport, Enfidha–Martyrs International Airport which started operations in late 2011. There are four airlines headquartered in Tunisia: Tunisair, Karthago Airlines, Nouvelair and Tunisair express.
•The railway network is operated by SNCFT and amounts to 2,135 kilometres (1,327 mi) in total. The Tunis area is served by a tram network, named Metro Leger.
Tunisia was in 2009 ranked the most competitive economy in Africa and the 40th in the world by the World Economic Forum. Tunisia has managed to attract many international companies such as Airbus and Hewlett-Packard. In addition, Tourism accounted for 7% of GDP and about 370,000 jobs in 2009.
Tunisia received just over 6.9 Million tourists in 2009. Tunisia's 5 largest country sources of Tourism were GERMANY, FRANCE, a mixture of countries, ITALY and the UK. As of Jan 2012, the number of tourists coming to Tunisia decreased by half after the onset of the revolution that overthrew the then President Ben Ali.
In an attempt to regain custom, there are many incentives being given to International visitors starting 2012, with many Tunisian hotels offering discounted room rates or offered "added value", such as free extra nights.
The international response for 2012 -always in terms of tourism- however, remains to be seen.
Sources: The independent, Reuters (April 2012)
Car Hire in Tunisia with MisterHire.Com
Tunisia is a relatively small and beautiful country, but packs a big heart. It is known to be the most liberal Arab Country captivating its visitors with its surrounding Rocky Mountains and sandy area of Sahara, intoxicating ocean breeze with equally nostril-breaking fragrances of jasmine and other exotic scents. Tunisia will simply leave its visitors asking for more.
From exploring the ancient remains tracing to Phoenician period, lying around in the yellow sand beaches to hiking in desert by camels, diving in its gleaming coral reefs, playing golf and experiencing seawater therapies and sports, there is something for all types of visitors to venture into.
Some of the must visit places of any leisure visitor's itinerary shoud be Tunis, Carthage, Bizeta and Ichkeul Lake, Tabarka, Ain Draham, Maktar, Dougga, Kerkouane, Kelibia, Bulla Regia, Beja, Le Kef, Sbeitla, Chemtou,Tozeur, Douz, Mahdia, EI Jem and EI Jerid.
Our dedicated purchasing team compares prices across all the main suppliers such as Budget, Sixt, Europcar, Avis as well as an abundance of other carefully selected and reliable local suppliers to find you the best car rental rates possible for Tunisia, 24/7 all year round. With about 30 airports around the country to land to, we cover the most arrival locations of this magnificent Mediterranean jewel for easy access to our car rental services. Visit any of our pages, or use the Car Hire Search Engine Box in the top right section of this page and receive a concise Online quote today and see how much can be saved on your next fully Inclusive car rental service in Tunisia, simply by using our car hire comparing services.
The general speed limits in Tunisia (correct as of May 2012) are:
• 50 km/h (30 mph) on public roads within an urban area
• 90 km/h (56 mph) on public roads outside an urban area which is not a freeway; and
• 110 km/h (68 mph) on freeways
Sources: Wikipedia, CometoTunisia, TripAdvisor