The June 2008 International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Tunisia has revealed extremely promising figures. These findings, coupled with the latest tourist statistics for the first 6 months of 2008, confirm that Tunisia combines two essential ingredients for property investment potential - a stable and growing economy and steadily increasing tourism.
According to the IMF report, Tunisia remains on track for 5.5% GDP growth in 2008, one of the highest in the Mediterranean and far above the increase expected in many other countries which are currently in the grip of the global credit crunch. Forecasts for 2009 are even higher (5.9%) and the IMF also predicts further strong growth for the medium term. Unemployment levels have dropped and inflation is in check, both important indications of strong economic performance.
Tunisia is a newcomer on the property investor's map - foreigner ownership of residential property has only been permitted for the last 3 years - but the young Tunisian property market already holds plenty of eastern promise. With property prices still low, many property analysts have likened Tunisia to the Moroccan market several years ago, but as the Independent highlights, "it is Tunisia that the better-informed property-hunters are exploring in search of affordable holiday homes."
Tunisia's property market may be young, but when it comes to tourism, Tunisia is well established. Ranked third by The New York Times in its list of global 'must-sees' for 2008 (coming behind only Lisbon and Laos), Tunisia is firmly forging a name for itself as a luxury holiday destination for well-heeled travellers. Tourism is a steadily increasing industry and the World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts an annual increase of 4.3% between 2009 and 2018. However, growth may actually be considerably higher since tourism rose by 4.7% during the first half of 2008 with the second 6 months expected to produce similar results.
Tunisia with its abundance of frontline beach developments - often with low-entry prices - has already grabbed the attention of major developers and investors, particularly those from the Middle East. UAE giants such Sama Holding (a subsidiary of Dubai Holding) and Dubai-based Emaar have massive investment projects in the country, representing outlays of $14 billion (approx.