Season 2023 in Tunisia for Tourists from Bulgaria: Analysis of Reviews and Preferences. Part I

It has become our good tradition to present comprehensive data on the results of the tourist season in Tunisia, related to certain segments of the market. This year, we have also gathered information and are pleased to share with you an analysis of the preferences of Bulgarian tourists in the 2023 season.

So, each tourist from Bulgaria who visited Tunisia with the tour operator Emerald Travel was asked to fill out a feedback form. We’d like to express sincere gratitude to those travelers who treated this survey as seriously as we do. All feedback questionnaires were processed, and now we’re going to present some figures and conclusions to you.

The tourism flow in Tunisia is usually divided into the tourists who go to the mainland and the tourists who spend their holidays on the island of Djerba. This year, tourists who stayed in hotels located on the mainland wrote 2,387 reviews, while those who vacationed on the island of Djerba filled out 995 feedback forms.

On the mainland, we can distinguish the resort of Hammamet, from which we received 1,311 reviews, the resort of Sousse, contributing 698 reviews, Monastir with 197 reviews, and Nabeul, from which we obtained 92 reviews. In Mahdia, a small number of tourists vacationed, and although we processed their reviews, they were not included in the statistics due to their low number.

If we assume that in general the equal number of tourists wrote reviews last year and this year, we can see the redistribution of the tourism flow from one Tunisian resort in 2022 to another resort in 2023.

In the following part of the article we’re going to consider tourists’ preferences between hotels, located on the mainland Tunisia. 

Last Season’s Leaders Moved Down a Notch in the Ranking

If we consider the four hotels whose guests wrote the largest number of reviews, it’s easy to find many familiar names from last year’s statistics. Specifically, three out of four hotels are the same.

Thus, Club Salammbo Hammamet is the second hotel with the greatest number of reviews (174 filled out feedback questionnaires). Club Novostar Sol Azur Beach Congress 4* is the third hotel in terms of a large number of written reviews (161 forms), while the hotel Novostar Bel Azur Thalassa & Bungalows 4* is the fourth one in the summer season 2023 (159 written reviews). So we can see that the last year’s leaders switched positions and the hotel Club Salammbo Hammamet shifted up a notch.

However, the greatest number of reviews were written by tourists who spent their summer holidays 2023 at the hotel Riadh Palms Resort & Spa 4* situated in Sousse (all the above-mentioned hotels are located in Hammamet). They filled out 210 feedback forms.

In addition to the four hotels, 11 other hotels are included in our analysis because tourists from Bulgaria wrote over 50 reviews about them. These hotels are shown on the following diagram:

It should be noted that the geographic scope of the market is expanding, and its diversity is considerable since hotels located in three tourist regions are included in the ranking. 

What Are the Best Hotels in Guests’ Opinion?

Getting reviews is great but our goal is to not just to collect a lot of filled out feedback forms but to find out if guests are satisfied with their stay in this or that hotel. Thus, the hotel Club Salammbo Hammamet is rated No. 1 in terms of guests’ satisfaction because over 97% of travelers who spent their holidays there wrote positive reviews. By the way, last year the percentage of satisfied tourists was 86.7%, so probably the hotel managed to raise the quality of provided services.

Nevertheless, Club Salammbo Hammamet is a leading hotel by a less positive criterion. It has No. 1 ranking among hotels where tourists weren’t accommodated. Thus, almost 8% of Bulgarian travelers who had booked a tour to Club Salammbo Hammamet were relocated to other hotels upon arrival. It may happen in other hotels as well, especially at the beginning of the tourist season when some delays in the hotel opening may occur. However, relocation doesn’t happen very often.

To illustrate that 8% is too much, we checked the number of all tourists who came to Tunisia with Emerald Travel in the 2023 season and calculated the percentage of guests who were relocated from all the other hotels except Club Salammbo Hammamet. We found out that it was less than 1%, 0.92% to be more exact. Relocation from Club Salammbo Hammamet took place in the height of the season when the hotel was fully booked. It means that when buying a tour to the hotel Club Salammbo Hammamet travelers are 8 times more likely to be relocated from it than when booking a holiday in other hotels in Tunisia. So, 97% of positive reviews are great but there’s an unpleasant nuance.

In order to deal with this situation, the Carthage Group team and the tour operator Emerald Travel came up with a negotiated solution which means that… No, no spoilers in this article! We’ll focus on this solution and other offers for Bulgarian tourists for the summer season 2024 in another piece of writing.

Travelers who spent their vacation at Club Novostar Sol Azur Beach Congress 4* wrote 79.8% of positive reviews about the hotel. It’s a bit more than last year, 76.5%. The reason is probably the fact that the hotel was renovated before the start of the 2023 season. Novostar Bel Azur Thalassa & Bungalows 4* achieved greater stability with 91.1% satisfied tourists compared to 90.7% last year.

As for the hotel with the largest number of reviews, Riadh Palms Resort & SPA 4* has fewer positive reviews in comparison with the above-mentioned hotels, 75.7%. In other words, the hotel didn’t live up to the expectations of every fourth family who stayed there. However, this quarter of unsatisfied guests could probably lower their expectations if they had paid greater attention to the fact that Riadh Palms Resort & SPA 4* is a much more budget-friendly accommodation facility than other top hotels according to guests’ feedback.

The following chart illustrates the four hotels with the greatest number of reviews and the percentage of positive and negative feedback about them:

By the way, if we take into account reviews about all hotels mentioned in filled out feedback forms, we’ll find out that there are quite a lot of hotels in Tunisia where Bulgarian travelers spent their holidays and were more than satisfied.

First of all, the hotel Medina Solaria & Thalasso 5* should be highlighted among such hotels because we have 69 reviews about it and absolutely all of them are positive ones. Moreover, the hotels Marhaba Palace 5*, Marhaba Royal Salem 4*, Steigenberger Marhaba Thalasso 5*, and Golden Yasmine Mehari Hammamet 5* have over 90% of positive reviews, though not so many tourists were accommodated there in comparison with the leading hotels.

The following bar chart shows the percentage of positive reviews about hotels stated in the significant number of filled out feedback questionnaires:

In the next article we’ll tell you about the preferences of tourists from Bulgaria who spent their holidays on the island of Djerba. There’s more to follow!