Lizzie Porter, The Daily Telegraph, July 7, 2015
A provocative advertising campaign is using images of the 7/7 bombings in London and the 9/11 attacks in New York to encourage tourists to return to Tunisia following last month's beach resort massacre.
The online posters, created by a Tunisian communications agency, show pictures of various terrorist attacks, accompanied by the question “Would you stop visiting?” and the words “Support Tunisia, land of peace.”
A picture of the Twin Towers, in the midst of the 9/11 attacks, represents New York, the bombed-out Tavistock Square bus London, and a “Je suis Charlie” poster – referring to the gun attack on the satirical newspaper offices – represents Paris.
The images are deliberately provocative, according to Selim Ben Hadj Yahia, managing director of Ramdam, an agency based in Tunis.
“Terrorism affects everybody, and that is really the central idea with these images.” He added that Tunisia was in need of support: “The aim was evidently to shock – or, rather, to touch a nerve so that the message gets through: if it [terrorism] can affect big capitals like London, Paris, and New York, then it can also affect us, and we should not boycott such-and-such a destination.”
The campaign is a response to fears that the fragile Tunisian tourism will grind to a halt following the murder of 38 people, 30 of whom were British, at a Sousse beach resort last month. Tunisia is currently in a state of emergency following the attack.
The campaign – which was not endorsed by the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism – was not created for an agency client or for profit. Mr Hadj Yahia – whose work usually focuses on political crisis communications rather than tourism – said that his intention was rather to convey hope and willingness: “We are the only country in the region building a true democracy and we will succeed at whatever cost.”
The photos have been divisive, with some Internet users pointing out that tourists were targeted in the beach massacre, as well as in the gun battle at the Bardo Museum in Tunis this March, in which 21 people died. However, Mr Hadj Yahia’s posts have also been praised for pointing out that terrorist attacks have indeed happened outside of Tunisia. “The aim was clearly to send a strong signal, mainly to our friends in Europe, so as not to give in to panic,” he added.
The Foreign Office is not currently advising British travellers against going to the Sousse beach area where the attack took place at the end of last month, although previous advisories against travel to the borders near Libya and Algeria remain in place.
Tourism is a significant source of income for Tunisia, representing about seven per cent of GDP. Some 425,000 British citizens visited the country in 2014, with most visits trouble free, according to the Foreign Office.
This article was written by Lizzie Porter from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.