Posted by: travelrat | July 14, 2008

Tunis Airport … The Arrival



Tunis; 6 June 2008


I’m not sure if Tunisair allow more legroom on their Airbus A320, or it was just that we were sitting near an emergency exit. The flight was an hour late, and, on arrival in Tunis at about 10 pm local time, we found the information given to me about visas by the London Tourist Office was partly incorrect.
You see, I’d done my homework. If you listen to, you’ll hear the hassle that Hoylen, who was interviewed by Chris Christensen, had in obtaining a visa on entry. But, Hoylen is Australian, and ONLY Australians and South Africans (plus a handful of central European and former Soviet states) need a visa (I wonder what they did to deserve it?). But, the Aussies and the Springboks can obtain one on entry.
So, I didn’t need a visa but Lorraine, with an Australian passport, did. The Tourist Office in London assured me that they did accept foreign currency in payment BUT, on arrival, we found, as Hoylen did, they wanted the money in Tunisian dinars, which, at the moment, are unobtainable outside Tunisia.

Lorraine had to wait at the visa office for me to ‘go through the process’, (Customs, Immigration, etc.), change some money at the Bureau de Change in the Arrival Hall and return … at other places, that’s usually strictly a one-way street. But, I met the tour company representative in the Arrival Hall, and he summoned a smiling policeman to escort me, and thus make my return easier.

Now, I’ve since had a couple of explanations. The first was that the lone official in the visa office was either not competent or too lazy to do the conversion; the second, more likely one, was that they only, in fact, accepted Euros. That seems more logical, because, on the way out a fortnight later, we found they would only change the Tunisian money we had left into Euros, and we could only spend Euros in the airside shops.

However, they are hoping, soon, to make Tunisian currency acceptable internationally, and it’s hoped it will soon be possible to obtain it before departure.

The transfer to Port el Kantaoui took ages, and one motorway in the dark looks pretty well like another. But, the car was a nice comfortable one, the driver was good and the Hotel Kanta, when we reached it, looked clean and comfortable. We arrived there about one o’clock in the morning, so were pretty slick about getting us checked in, and we were soon off to bed.



  1. What a kerfuffle. Glad the check-in was so efficient!

  2. I feel for the guy in the podcast … he was on his own when it happened to him. They required similar on my first visit to Jordan, but the visa clerk asked me for £20 sterling, then sent an assistant to change the money, and gave me the change.

    Second time, I was able to put the visa fee on to my credit card (well, they do call it a Visa card 😀 )

  3. Don’t you just LOVE going through customs? There has got to be a more efficient process upon arrival. I thought it was just me who always had issues but apparently not. Looking forward to hearing all about your holiday!

  4. It’s a long time since I had any hassle from Customs … I usually just go through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ channel, and, on the rare occasions I even see a rummager, it’s a case of ‘if you wave to him, he might wave back!’

    I suspect that, if you are carrying anything ‘suss’, they’ve had the heads-up from somewhere … probably the police, or the security people at the departure point.

    As I’ve often said, the most effective security measures are the ones you don’t see.

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