Currency: Tunisian Dinar (DT)
Exchange rate: € 1 per 3.2513 DT (November 2020)
Time zone: CET (UTC +1)
Country code (phone): +216
Climate (for capital): Mediterranean
Money and money transfer
The Tunisian currency is the Tunisian Dinar (DT). A dinar consists of a thousand millimes, which can sometimes lead to confusion, as low prices are given in millimes and not in dinars, especially in everyday language, e.g. 3000 millimes instead of 3 dinars. In addition to coins of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 millimes and 1, 2 and 5 dinars, there are notes to the value of 5, 10, 20 and 50 dinars.
Change is always in short supply in Tunisia, so that change, for example in supermarkets or in taxis, is often not returned exactly, but is rounded up or down. Paying by check is widespread in Tunisia, credit cards are accepted in all major shops and in most hotels. The Tunisian dinar is not allowed to be exported.
ATMs are common across the country and Visa or Mastercard are generally accepted. Maestro EC cards only work in individual cases. Common foreign currencies can easily be exchanged in banks. If you have exchanged too much, you must present the exchange receipts for the return exchange. You can exchange a maximum of one third of the original amount back into foreign currencies. Travelers checks are not accepted in all banks, but in most hotels. For foreigners working in Tunisia, the banks offer accounts in convertible dinars or euros. In the months of July and August during the so-called séance unique and in Ramadan, banks (as well as state institutions) are only open in the morning.
According to neovideogames, vaccinations are not required to enter Tunisia, however, depending on the type and duration of the trip, doctors recommend vaccinations against tetanus, polio, hepatitis A and B and rabies. When entering from yellow fever areas, an official vaccination certificate must be presented. Health care in the country is good to sufficient, depending on the region. Even in small towns there are doctors, hospitals or at least basic health centers for emergency care. There are also numerous private clinics in the big cities, which are usually equipped with modern equipment. Pharmacies can be found across the country without any problems, they are usually well equipped and the staff mostly speaks French. Prescription drugs are also often available without a doctor’s prescription. However, since 2018 there have been increasing delivery difficulties for medicines, sometimes 20% of the products are not available on the Tunisian market or only after a long search. Important personal medication should therefore be brought with you in sufficient quantities if possible. The medical emergency number can be reached at 190, but does not have sufficient emergency vehicles.
The hygienic conditions are generally decent, especially in restaurants that are heavily frequented by locals and where the food is freshly prepared. If you have a sensitive stomach, you should be careful with raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables. Half-raw eggs and the harrissa chili paste are also frequently used in Tunisian cuisine and are not always well tolerated by foreigners. The tap water in the cities is usually chlorinated and therefore safe to drink, but not particularly good in taste. In the countryside, mineral water is the better alternative. It is cheap and available in 0.5 or 1.5L bottles even at the smallest newspaper kiosks.
Reforming and strengthening the health system was one of the priorities in Tunisia after independence. However, over the years mismanagement and corruption have caused severe damage to the sector. Although there are state health facilities in all parts of the country, these are often in a desolate condition despite the good medical training of the employees, especially in the interior: there is a lack of equipment and specialist doctors, who are mainly located in the large cities on the coast. Suffer especially needy patients. Since the summer of 2018 there has also been an increasing lack of medication that are no longer purchased due to payment difficulties at the central pharmacy. In addition, there is a wide network of private clinics and resident doctors, often of significantly better quality. Tunisia spends around 6% of its national budget on health care.
The state health insurance company CNAM is responsible for the insurance and reimburses treatments in state institutions and, in some cases, treatment costs with resident doctors. Similar to Germany, a family doctor model is used. Medicines are also partially reimbursed.
The state family planning centers (“planning familial”) offer free health care and abortions for women. Contraceptives are subsidized by the state. In addition, various non-governmental organizations try to provide sexual education. While the proportion of people infected with HIV in Tunisia is relatively low, non-governmental organizations criticize the lack of availability of medicines and the discrimination and stigmatization of infected people by medical staff. Drug consumption plays a major role, especially among young people. Here the consumption of cannabis is shifting towards synthetic drugs and products actually intended for withdrawal, such as Subutex. While the state is very tough on consumers, it does hardly any prevention and educational work. There is currently a single rehab clinic in Sfax nationwide.