Promoting Responsible Tourism for Better Economic, Social and Cultural Integration of Migrants in Jendouba and Kairouan, Tunisia

Pilot project of the Cities and Migration programme

Project: Promoting Responsible Tourism for Better Economic, Social and Cultural Integration of Migrants in Jendouba and Kairouan, Tunisia

Implementing Partners: The National Union of Tunisian Women in Kairouan; Association of Women, Youth and Children in Jendouba in collaboration with the Tourism Sector

Location: Jendouba and Kairouan, Tunisia

Duration: December 2019 – November 2021


The projects in Jendouba and Kairouan will enable the city stakeholders to work together to receive, manage, and integrate labour migrants and, at the same time, promote responsible tourism in the city. In a partnership between local and regional authorities, civil society and the private sector, young labour migrants will be trained and guided through tourism-related activities that will help them improve their economic situations. This experience, combined with an urban forum and dialogues at the regional and national levels, will inform citywide strategies to integrate labour migration into local policies and institutionalise the multi-stakeholder partnerships developed through the projects.


Internal labour migration is a major phenomenon in Tunisia. It is directly linked to the socio-economic disparities between lagging regions of the interior and the dynamic, prosperous coastal regions. The interior regions are marked by high levels of unemployment and poverty (both stand at around 30%), with limited access to basic services and lower standards of living.  

In contrast, the metropolitan areas of Tunisia’s three biggest cities (Tunis, Sfax and Sousse) make up 92% of the country’s industrial activity and 85% of its GDP. Many young labour migrants from secondary cities in Tunisia’s interior – especially the highly skilled – are attracted to the large metro areas in search of employment and opportunities for a better life. 

Meanwhile, secondary cities such as Jendouba and Kairouan are receiving rural migrants for the same reasons. Local authorities are trying to find ways to integrate young labour migrants from rural areas economically, socially and culturally, while at the same time retaining residents who would otherwise migrate to the primary cities. However, local authorities have limited capacity to manage these dual migration flows (rural-to-urban and urban-to-urban). 

At the national level, Tunisia is currently working to alleviate the regional disparities that are at the heart of its internal migration flows. The country has been undergoing a decentralisation process guided by its 2014 constitution and the Local Government Code adopted in 2018. In this context, it is critical to support Tunisia’s interior cities as they assume new role and responsibilities for fostering local development. Labour migration is an important topic in Tunisia, and municipalities need to address inward and outward labour migration by making themselves more attractive to residents, create employment opportunities, and promote a sense of belonging among their large youthful populations. 

A customisable, replicable approach piloted in two cities

Cities Alliance is piloting a similar approach in two partner cities, Jendouba and Kairouan, so that they will be able to compare experiences and foster learning, exchange and cooperation. In the future, the cities plan to share their experiences with other Tunisian secondary cities that are heavily influenced by inward and outward labour migration. The National Federation of Tunisian Cities, a strong partner of Cities Alliance, will play an important role in facilitating knowledge sharing exchanges between cities and local, regional and national authorities.

Although Jendouba and Kairouan face similar challenges, there are some differences in the city- and region-specific composition of assets, potentials, and stakeholders. While sharing a similar approach, the project will adapt to the specific needs of each city. The idea is to pilot an approach that is solidly replicable and scalable, while staying adaptive to the context and potential of different types of secondary cities.



The projects are based on three areas of interventions that will work together to integrate labour migrants into the city. They include developing tourism products to provide livelihood opportunities for young migrants; strategies to promote these products and raise the profile of Kairouan’s assets; and building capacity among the local authorities to improve their approaches to integrating and managing labour migrants. The project will develop strong multi-stakeholder partnerships and an evidence base to support inclusive local policies.

Result 1: Responsible Tourism Products to Provide Livelihood Opportunities  for Youth 

Kairouan and Jendouba, as well as their surrounding areas, have great potential for inclusive and sustainable development. Both cities are rich in cultural, artisanal and natural attractions that are largely untapped, and Kairouan is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.  

The project will analyse the economic and social potential associated with responsible tourism in the city and its surroundings, including how it can integrate youth into the labour market and social life. This diagnostic will inform the development of tourism products based on the region’s assets as well as training for future guides and homestay hosts. 

Through the training cycle and ongoing engagement, at least 50 migrant youth will be sensitised to the local cultural and natural assets, gain know-how and confidence, and help them identify with the area.

In Kairouan, youth will be actively involved in building an artisanal market (the Orient Bazar 1001 nuits) that will allow artisanal craftsmen to present and sell their products. The project will also support a similar market in Jendouba. Other activities include developing and establishing new tours and tourism-related circuits. The project will support youth in creating their own tourism agency and learning how to manage it themselves, enhancing the sustainability of the project’s impact and providing an example for other youth. 

Residents of Jendouba and Kairouan will participate in regular beautification activities to improve the city’s physical appearance and sensitise residents to their role in this area. These beautification activities will serve to bring “old” and “new” city residents together. The project will establish a committee to oversee these activities with the goal of sensitising 100 citizens to improving the city’s attractiveness who participate actively in regular gardening and clean-up actions.

Result 2: A Strategy to Promote Cultural and Natural Heritage in Both Cities

This part of the project focuses on commercialising and promoting the tourism and artisanal products established in Result 1. It will develop a territorial marketing strategy designed to enhance the visibility and value of the region’s cultural and natural heritage at the local, national and international level. The strategy will also focus on engaging tourism operators in Jendouba and Kairouan. 

A multi-partner communication team will be established to oversee the implementation of the strategy. Activities include information sessions, educational tours, online media campaigns, participation in fairs, and an e-commerce platform to commercialise artisanal products, among others. 

Result 3:  Local Authorities Develop Inclusive Approaches to Migration Governance and Management 

Local and regional authorities play a key role in successful project implementation and ensuring a sustained impact in the long run. A diagnostic will help identify their existing capacities and needs for strengthening their approaches to migration governance and management, as well as for integrating migrants economically, socially and culturally. 

Awareness-raising campaigns and a range of targeted training will allow 20 members of local and regional authorities to improve their understanding and ability to effectively address, manage and leverage the challenges and opportunities arising from internal migration. Eventually, these activities will allow for mainstreaming the integration of labour migrants into the policies and instruments of both cities, notably their City Development Strategies. 

The project will also establish a multi-stakeholder city forum to ensure an inclusive migration governance regime that builds upon effective partnerships and learning. This form will provide the space for various actors to debate the key issues and share experiences on the potential of internal labour migration.


Migration is a highly gendered process, with women, men, girls and boys experiencing different risks and vulnerabilities. In that context, the Cities Alliance project will have a strong focus on women’s empowerment and mainstream gender across all activities and governance.  

The project will provide necessary data on women and migration in both cities. The diagnostics will analyse sex- specific challenges and opportunities of internal migration, providing the cities with information that they can use to make their interventions more gender responsive. 

The project’s activities will also have a strong gender component. When establishing the artisanal markets in both cities, women will be specifically targeted for support in commercialising their products. At least 40% of the guides and hosts selected for the project will be women. The capacity-building training will require that at least 40% of the council and administrative members be female.