Thursday, March 06, 2014

Tunis's Medina's Woes

An especially touch winter across the Mediterranean and Middle East has hurt Tunisia's tourism, and hence the profitability of the shops in Tunis's medina, the term used for old cities across the former French North Africa.  However, this may just be part of a long-term decline:
While the future of Tunisia is slowly stabilizing, the future of the Medina’s souks is uncertain. Businesses often handed down from generation to generation are closing as the current generation of students concentrates on its academic future and turns away from the fabrication and selling of traditional products in Tunis’s oldest neighborhood.

What was once the economic and social hub of Tunis before French colonization is now a picturesque market of window shoppers, who may not always be willing to spend.

Storekeepers blame both a dwindling numbers of tourists and a lack of interest in traditional products for feeble earnings...

The average income for stallholders in the souks, the various markets of the Media, is between 30 to 40 U.S. dollars a day. According to Fathi, it costs $300,000 to buy a stall or $2,000 to rent monthly. His shop, decorated with ceramic plates, ornaments, and blagha (traditional shoes), has been in the family for 115 years.



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