The depth and duration of the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the tourism industry worldwide, and Tunisia’s tourism sector has not escaped its impacts. The shock came at a time when the industry was slowly recovering amid the aftermath of the 2011 revolution and the 2015 terrorist attacks in the country. The crisis has aggravated existing structural weaknesses and highlighted the need for authorities to respond and accelerate structural reforms to promote its full recovery. A pro-competitive regulatory framework that avoids unnecessary costs and enables flexibility will be crucial to these efforts. This report therefore analyses regulatory barriers to competition in the Tunisian tourism sector.

Anti-competitive regulations that hinder entry into and expansion within markets may be particularly damaging because they reduce productivity improvement, limit investment and innovation, and harm employment creation. In addition, tourism is susceptible to external events, and changes in business cycles can have an outsized effect on activity. As a result, it is crucial that the sector is sufficiently flexible to adapt to changes in conditions. An absence of significant entry and exit barriers in the regulatory framework for tourism would contribute to that flexibility.

This OECD competition assessment review of Tunisia was conducted in close co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism, the Conseil de la Concurrence, or Competition Council, and other Tunisian authorities and local stakeholders. The report includes an assessment of competition and an analysis of 163 pieces of legislation regulating key tourism services such as accommodation, food and beverage service, transport, travel agencies, and cultural, sports and recreational services. The report identifies 447 potential regulatory barriers to competition and submits 351 recommendations to make regulation in the sector more pro-competitive.

The report builds on the previous competition assessments by OECD’s Competition Division. Using its Competition Assessment Recommendation and Toolkit, the OECD has been supporting governments in the adoption of pro-competitive laws and regulations for more than a decade. Since 2013, the OECD has assisted Greece, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Iceland, Brazil and 10 ASEAN countries with competition assessments of strategic sectors, such as medicines, construction, logistics, media, manufacturing, and retail and wholesale trade.

The Tunisia competition assessment review adds to the country’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its competition policy framework. It is part of a broader project, supported by the European Union Delegation to Tunisia, aimed at fostering pro-competitive reforms in the country. The project builds on the success of 2019 OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Tunisia, which examined the country’s wholesale and retail trade, and road and maritime freight transport sectors. Other outcomes of the project include OECD Peer Reviews of Competition Law and Policy: Tunisia, published in 2022, and the OECD Competition Market Study of the retail banking sector, to be published in mid-2023.

This document was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union Delegation to Tunisia. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the EU.

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