Technical Marketing Support for Destination Dahar, Tunisia’s First Destination Management Organization, Begins

Articles / 30-03-2023

Last October, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between USAID Visit Tunisia and FTADD to work together to support the long-term sustainability of FTADD and its member small and medium-sized enterprises. The partnership aims to promote Destination Dahar, increase visitor spending in the area, and improve tourism management and marketing. After months of crafting a destination marketing and content plan, digital marketing efforts officially began on March 1st. Since the inaugural posts under USAID Visit Tunisia, social media impressions have increased by 6,100% on Instagram and 1,200% on Facebook compared to the pages’ reach from the previous period.

About Destination Dahar

The development of the FTADD DMO was financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and realized by SwissContact, through the Project Destination Sud-Est. The DMO was officially created in March 2018. Destination Dahar (FTADD) is Tunisia's first destination management organization, which unifies 90% of tourism providers in the area under one organization body to collaborate and facilitate better marketing, visitor experience, and tourist impact. The Dahar region, which encompasses portions of three administrative governorates, has been one of the most underserved Tunisian regions in the last several decades.

“Working with USAID Visit Tunisia has been a wonderful experience. Their expertise and support have been invaluable in helping us achieve our marketing goals, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in the future." — Achref Chibani, Marketing Director at the Federation of Authentic Tourism, Destination Dahar

Drafting and Implementing Technical Support Plans to Guide Strategic Growth

Since signing the MOU, USAID Visit Tunisia has been working to develop two guiding organizational documents: a business plan and a destination marketing plan. Significant stakeholder engagement, field visits, and international best practices were employed to produce detailed, informed documents. In February, the marketing plan was the first to be approved by FTADD, and the ensuing marketing efforts were formally launched on March 1st by USAID Visit Tunisia.

A Instagram post created and posted by USAID Visit Tunisia for the Destination Dahar Instagram page that highlights the operator of Cafe Ben Jemaa, Kawther Ben Jemaa. She is one of the leading women tourism entrepreneurs in the South.

Transforming Destination Dahar’s Digital Marketing Efforts

On March 1st, USAID Visit Tunisia kickstarted digital marketing for Destination Dahar, with a focus on creating vibrant and informative Instagram and Facebook content about the local culture, accommodations, food, landscapes, history, and women entrepreneurs. The campaign employed best practices for multilingual (French, Arabic, and English) captions, hashtags, and geolocations.

The team also redesigned Instagram story highlights to ensure travelers have readily accessible information about traveling through the region. Google Analytics was set up on the Destination Dahar website to monitor the marketing efforts. The team is updating the website's content to make it more user-friendly for travelers. This effort represents a significant step forward in promoting Dahar as a desirable travel destination, and USAID's involvement underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in promoting sustainable tourism.

Destination Dahar's social media channels are set to create a digital community by inviting past visitors, service providers, and locals to connect and share their experiences. Using social media, the destination aims to create a virtual community of bikers, wellness seekers, campers, hikers, Star Wars lovers, and more who have flocked to the page to share their stories of living and traveling in Dahar. This initiative connects travelers virtually, inviting them to tell their stories about the destination and share their photos to attract future travelers. By creating a digital community, Destination Dahar aims to cultivate a loyal following of travelers who will continue to engage with and promote the destination, contributing to its long-term sustainability and growth.
Newly designed Instagram feed for Destination Dahar

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the USAID Visit Tunisia team for their invaluable assistance. Thanks to their continued marketing support, FTADD has been able to nurture its current marketing strategy with new and creative ideas and plans. I massively appreciate this promising partnership, which has shed light on Dahar Region's authentic beauty. We look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with the Visit Tunisia team." — Mohamed Sadek Dabbebi, president of the Federation of Authentic Tourism- Destination Dahar (FTADD)

Importance of Tourism in the Dahar Region

Tourism is vital to the future of Southern Tunisia’s Dahar region and could be the key to solving many of the region's issues. Over the past 3 decades, Dahar experienced a dramatic decline in population levels. Matmata lost close to 99% of its population until 2021, and villages such as Guermassa and Douiret are now abandoned, despite having the highest number of inhabitants in the 50s. Tourism can create job opportunities, particularly in remote communities and rural areas with high levels of outmigration. With the development of the tourism industry, locals can be trained to work in roles such as tour guides, hotel staff, and restaurant workers. This not only provides a source of income but also helps to stem the outflow of people from these areas, which can have a detrimental impact on the region's economy.

Ethical and conscious tourism can help improve infrastructure in the region. By attracting tourists, there is a greater incentive to improve roads, water supply, and sanitation. This can make the region more attractive to live and work in, ultimately boosting the local economy. Investing in infrastructure can also improve the lives of locals, creating a better quality of life for them and their families.

Tourism can also promote the preservation of cultural heritage and encourage a sense of pride in the local community. By promoting cultural traditions and assets, the tourism industry can create a sense of pride in the local community, boosting morale and promoting a stronger sense of identity. This can also help to ensure that important cultural assets are protected for future generations.

“We have been working with USAID Visit Tunisia for several months now, and I can confidently say that their support has been instrumental in helping us revitalize our social media presence. With their guidance, we have been able to create engaging, fresh content that resonates with our audience and drives interaction on our pages. We've also been able to amplify women's voices in our region by sharing their stories and experiences. But it's not just about content creation - USAID Visit Tunisia has also helped us implement much-needed processes for monitoring the impact of our social media efforts. With their guidance, we've been able to measure our success and make data-driven decisions about allocating our resources best.” — Achref Chibani, Marketing Director at the Federation of Authentic Tourism, Destination Dahar

A Instagram post created and posted by USAID Visit Tunisia for the Destination Dahar Instagram page that highlights the founder of Tadarromt Home, Jazia Talbia. Never having been taught how to read or write, Jazia is a remarkable success story and inspiration for women in the Dahar region.

Connection with the new Visit Tunisia Market Readiness Program

The Market Readiness Program launched mid March will benefit small tourism businesses in Dahar. The program will help these selected businesses improve their products and services, enhance their marketing strategies, and increase their competitiveness in the market. Dahar’s tourism experiences and providers will participate in one-on-one workshops, training sessions, and networking events to learn from USAID Visit Tunisia and radically transform their marketing and experience deliverance. The Market Readiness Program will help strengthen the local economy and improve the quality of life for residents in Dahar. Learn more about the program here.

Supporting Destination Dahar

USAID Visit Tunisia's efforts to support and improve the marketing of the Dahar can significantly impact the region and its people. By raising awareness of the destination’s cultural and natural assets, tourists can be attracted to the region, increasing tourism revenue and job opportunities for local communities. Moreover, by promoting the region's unique cultural and natural heritage, Destination Dahar can help preserve and celebrate the rich history and traditions of the region.
Through bolstering marketing efforts and providing much-needed technical assistance to small regional businesses in one of Tunisia’s most underserved destinations, USAID Visit Tunisia is contributing to the region's economic development in addition to helping to improve livelihoods.
Join USAID Visit Tunisia in supporting the destination marketing efforts of Destination Dahar, and follow the DMO on Instagram and Facebook.A Instagram post created and posted by USAID Visit Tunisia for the Destination Dahar Instagram page that highlights Amal Tiss, a powerful voice for the integration of women in Tunisia’s tourism industry

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