Tunisia Revolutionizes Tourism Advertising

In a bid to profit from its current reputation for political instability and violence, Tunisia has taken to the streets of London with a series of tourism ads making light of the country's recent civil conflict, CNN reports.
"They say that in Tunisia, some people receive heavy handed treatment," says one bus-side advertisement. "They say Tunisia is a real hot spot," says another.

The "They" in the ads seems to refer to journalists writing stories about torture and fighting during the country's revolution this year.

If the goal of the ads was to get people talking (it was), they are working. But the ads will have to do more than stir up conversation. Tunisia is desperate for tourism revenue: According to Reuters, tourist revenue in 2011 is on track to be down 50%, some $3.5 billion, from 2010.

Prior to the revolution, Tunisia had been a popular sand and sun destination for many Europeans, but the prospect of riots has made the Mediterranean country less appealing and forced Tunisian tourism officials, who insist their country is perfectly safe, to advertise heavily on the continent.

New ad campaigns will be sprouting up soon in France, Italy and Spain. No word yet on
whether they will obliquely reference that time Bedouins sacked Tunis or the invasions of the Nazis.

Come on down!

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