Leila Tekkaya; “The Asian market is a bargain – it’s up to us to commit to it!”

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Leila Tekaya is Director of Communication and Public Relations of the Tunisian National Tourist Office (ONTT). During ITB ASIA 2017, alongside FTH and FTAV, she brilliantly ensured the representativeness of the destination Tunisia during all the events (meeting, press conference, destination show …). The dynamic and voluntary young woman poses for 1001 Tunisia time for a hot balance. Interview led by Amel DJAIT

1001tunisie: Leila Tekaya, 72 hours almost nonstop on the ITB ASIA show he confirm a wait or a surprise?

Leila Tekaya: We think we know everything about the Asian markets but in fact it’s a continent apart and it will really have to be done surgically to better approach it. We have to be able to isolate the sending markets and consider that each country is a huge pool of fish aside and in addition to China.

Is China not a priority?

Of course we did, but we found a lot of interest from India and Hong Kong in ITB ASIA. For example, several Hong Kong operators were looking to refresh their programs on Tunisia. So the market needs to be informed about what’s new and we need to avoid copying / pasting conventional programs. There is therefore a lot of work to update for some countries. That said, we must realize that as a whole the Asian market is a godsend!

Precisely, this windfall how to go about converting it? This market could easily be a doping product for the destination Tunisia. Do we have the means to tackle these issuing markets in light of the limited resources we know?

It will be necessary to concentrate the efforts and especially not to be scattered. This concentration must be palpable and clear. We must set achievable goals over an average period. We must be able to measure our goals. We need to deploy ourselves and we need to know who our customers are, how they travel, what they spend, what their satisfaction rate is, how much they spend to refine and better develop the channel of marketing.

We must also, and above all, work with lasting concerns. We need to set clear goals by segmenting target groups. New marketing approaches will be explored in order to find MICE customers, honeymooners, culture lovers and others in Asia by developing bilateral cooperation and partnerships with airlines.

Isn’:t it easier today? The time when you were answered Indonesia when you mention Tunisia is apparently gone?

Absolutely! Tunisia already has its place on the map. It was necessary to insist on air combinations from Europe and the Middle East. It must be explained that the destination can be combined with other destinations, but it is clear that the Asian operators are clearly locating the country at the junction of the Mediterranean.

Who are the 11,000 Chinese who came to Tunisia until September 2017?

We need to know more about them. Who are they ? Does it come from China or elsewhere? What are their main motivations? They come to do what? What is the perception of the destination – before and after? There is a lot of work to do in terms of customer profiling.

How many appointments have you made at the ITB ASIA 2017? What are the requests?

We had a hundred appointments and daily visits with our partners FTH and FTAV. Visitors to the stand came from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong …. They were journalists, operators, digital agencies, incentive houses … The questions that came back were: How to come to you? What is the minimum length of stay to discover the essentials? What to do to discover Tunisia archeology or Sahara?

Doesn’t The sahara  scare them?

Not at all! You have to know how to sell it, and presumably, this, they already know it. Our Sahara is “friendly” and suddenly, they are reassured by our professional experience, the quality of hotel structures, the proximity of the region … That said, the Tunisian Sahara has proven itself. They know that it is a destination for incentive groups and they are really in demand. Suddenly the southern region is a safe value for the Asian market in general and for the Chinese market in particular. And that confirms what we already know.

What key messages today should be made to Tunisian operators and the guardianship administration? How to raise awareness of the urgency to go to conquer these markets?

In my opinion, we should appoint a monitoring team and not let go of the market at the level of our Administration. The mission of this team would work in complement with the representation of the ONTT in Beijing which ensures an important mission of development of the Tunisian tourism on China. This idea is also fully acquired and as proof, we are partners with GIZ.

Following this show, we are all more and more aware that we have great opportunities ahead of us. The private sector is really involved and that’s good! On behalf of ONTT and our parent Ministry, I would like to thank GIZ for its commitment. GIZ provides funds but also and especially expertise to support Tunisian tourism. Together we can go much further and faster.

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