"Most youth from Djerba have worked in the tourism industry at some point in their life. I began working in the sector in the early 2000s after I graduated from university. In 2013, I opened my own travel agency. During my time in the tourism industry, I have seen the sector go through many challenges, but I have always managed to adapt, reaching new consumers in neighboring countries and offering new services to keep pace with the evolving market. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a crisis more severe than we have ever seen. Tourism in Djerba, in particular, was a major casualty, as the region was declared a red zone early on in the pandemic, nearly freezing economic activity there. Looking for a way out of the crisis and to save my four employees' jobs, I applied to the US government's COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Grant through the USAID Tunisia JOBS program. The grant helped me take my business to the next level through a digital solution. It helped fund a business-to-business (B2B) platform that transformed my business into a travel wholesaler, generating more revenue and allowing me to weather the difficult crisis."
Hichem Labassi – Ulysse Travel