A Detailed Review of The Parking Solutions in Tunisia’s Airports
The geographical surroundings and the historical wonders of the Northern African nation are the principal reasons for the millions of tourists that fly in and out of Tunisian airports every year.
Tunisia touches upon the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains as well as the northern parts of the Sahara desert. The coastline is 810 miles long, connecting to the Mediterranean Basin via the Sardinian Channel and the Sicilian Strait.
Other than the beautiful landscapes, rationales for Tunisia’s appeal include (but are not limited to) Tunis, the cosmopolitan capital; Carthage and its ancient ruins; Jerba’s Muslim and Jewish quarters; and the coastal resorts neighboring Monastir and Sousse.
According to the New York Times, “Tunisia is known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries”.
Despite the beauty of the nation, it doesn’t seem to be exempt from the reservations that many travelers have concerning airports, no matter which country they are currently in: parking.
Parking, in general, has always been something of a nuisance, but the hassles and stresses of finding parking spots at airports seem to be amplified. While private parking facilities have always been a real option for tourists and locals alike, they might not always be the best option. UK-based company, Parking4less reports that “Private parking enforcement remains unregulated,” with many operators breaching their own rules.
Luckily for those traveling to Tunisia, local airports have solved all parking problems by offering specialized parking rates at their own facilities.
However, before we delve into the many parking options offered by the nation’s main airports, it’s important that the different choices for parking are properly defined. The four types of parking offered in Tunisian airports include:
- on airport,
- off airport,
- long stay,
- short stay,
- and meet-and-greet services.
This option allows travelers to park onsite, allowing them to be as close to their terminal as possible. This is time efficient as the patrons won’t need to shuttle between the lot and the airport. Upon the traveler’s return, the car is readily available within walking distance.
Passengers will be required to park at a lot away from the airport but aren’t too far from the premises. The offsite parking lots have 24 hour buses that travel to and from the airport. Often it is the cheaper solution in comparison to the onsite alternative, as the rates for parking on the premises are inclusive of premium airport real estate. But unlike onsite, time has to be factored in with off airport parking.
This is typically utilized by people that are dropping off or picking up others at the airport, demonstrating that this is a non-overnight parking alternative. Short term parking lots tend to have the highest rates because of the quick turnover of passengers coming and going.
Anything beyond 12 hours is considered long term parking. Some lots go by daily rates; others are dependent on the length of time (i.e. 3 days rates vs. one week rates).
Also known as valet parking, this is the most expensive option, yet it is the most convenient. Travelers are often hesitant with the meet-and-greet service because the cost of convenience seemingly is greater than one could have anticipated. It is, however, appropriate for large groups or families that are traveling with a hefty amount of luggage or equipment.
When this service is chosen, the car is dropped off at the terminal door with the valet waiting to inspect the scratches on your vehicle for insurance purposes. Upon your arrival, call the service from baggage reclaim and the car will be brought to you.
Now that each of the airport parking choices have been fully defined, we will take a closer look at the options for driving passengers in Tunisia’s three main airports.
Parking at Tunis Airport/Carthage International Airport (TUN)
This is the country’s primary airport and base of operations for four airlines, Nouvelair Tunisia, Tunisair, Tunisavia and Sevenair. The airport serves over a million passengers annually.
It is located only four miles from the capital, and is the only airport that is close in range with Carthage, a city enriched with historical and cultural impacts that tourists take pleasure in.
In terms of onsite parking, Airport Desk explains that there are 2500 spaces available, with both short term and long term rates.
For the first 12 hours, the cost of parking is 0.65 dinar which then increases to a daily rate to 3 dinars per succeeding day. Passengers can also opt for the meet and greet service if they prefer the chauffeur option.
There are several choices for offsite parking, all with scheduled buses that transport travelers to and from the airport. These parking lots are best for situations requiring longer occupancy, as the minimum stays tend to be three days.
Parking at Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport (MIR)
Named after former president Habib Bourguiba, this airport is the country’s largest and is central to most of the tourist destinations in Tunisia. It sees about 3.5 million travelers a year. The reason for the activity is due to the tourists visiting the resorts of Monastir, like Monastir-Skanes, or boarding seasonal chartered airlines to Sousse, the airport location nearest the famed Port El Kanataoui.
Short stay solutions are provided for both cars and buses alike. Cars can park for free if their stay is five minutes or under. For every two hours the car is occupying a space is rated at 1 dinar, which is relatively more expensive than the onsite parking at Tunis Airport. Buses and vans, on the other hand, don’t qualify for any free parking as their parking slots cost 3 dinars for every two hours.
Long term options are available to passengers as well, with the longest stay being one month. The one day rate is 12 dinars, three days is 15, one week is 20, two weeks is 35, and finally 64 dinars for the one month occupancy.
The meet and greet service is only available to those that hold a TAV Passport Card. Holders of this exclusive membership can avail free parking and valet services. Other benefits they get for transport facilities include discounted transfers as well car rentals.
The choices for off airport parking follow the same schematics as Tunis Airport, with the minimum 3 day stay.
Djerba-Zarzis Airport (DJE)
A small airport but still significant for its tourist attraction, Djerba-Zarzis is located on the island South of Tunisia that boasts mild climate (the lowest and highest temperatures throughout the year is 8.8oC and 31.9oC, respectively), breathtaking beaches and exceptional landscape.
Although the annual capacity of passengers for Djerba-Zarzis is four million, only 650 parking spaces are available because of its small size in comparison to the previous two airports. Given the limited spacing, selections for parking are most likely restricted to short term stays.
With the organized parking structure of Tunisian airports, passengers will be able to travel domestically and internationally without fretting about the state of their vehicles.