Lost paradise! Look inside Tunisia’s lost lavish hotels that were abandoned after terrorist attacks

Look inside Tunisia’s lost lavish hotels that were abandoned after terrorist attacks.

Ranging from perfectly preserved to in-ruins, the resorts in Island Djerba are a clash between ‘post-apocalyptic’ and forgotten elegance.

Still laid out in all its grandeur the vast ashen white lobbies and dining halls remain laden with chairs, tables and couches for guests.

Stunning chandeliers hang from the ceilings and facilities, from a fully-equipped bar to massage tables and spa rooms that remain intact apart from a heavy coating of dust.

Outside the magnificent Moorish-design courtyards remain impressive yet overgrown in their abandonment, with green pond-like liquid lying in the pools, Jacuzzis and water features.

Urban explorer Bob Thissen, from Heerlen, The Netherlands, visited the site in the country that was declared a no-fly zone, and where some of the hotels closed as early as 2008.

PICS BY BOB THISSEN / CATERS NEWS

A state of emergency was declared in Tunisia three-years-ago, with multiple extensions to the order – that grants government power to perform acts not normally allowed – until October this year.  

The UK Government homepage (Gov.uk) says, ‘Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia,’ listing eight extremist activities.  

Bob and his group of ‘urbexers,’ documented the locations for their channel ‘Exploring the Unbeaten Path.’

He said: “It was crazy to walk alone in such big resorts where thousands of tourists used to spend their holidays. It was so silent.

“It’s like a lost paradise. The pools have dirty green water, are half filled with sand and vegetation, or just the salt is left inside the saltwater pools.

PICS BY BOB THISSEN / CATERS NEWS

“The normally perfect swept paths are now full of sand and covered with dead palm leaves.

“The outdoor animation buildings are falling apart, bars are empty, and the playground equipment appears lonely.

“All resorts were completely different, from perfect condition to completely ruined. 

“I liked the post-apocalyptic exteriors with the pools the most.

“It’s crazy that these sized resorts are abandoned. Most resorts have multiple outdoor and indoor pools. 

“It was a big contrast to see these abandoned decaying hotels against the beautiful blue water beaches.

PICS BY BOB THISSEN / CATERS NEWS

The decline in tourism followed a spate of terror attacks in 2015, where 71 people were killed in three attacks.

The worst of that year occurred in June when 38 foreign tourists were slayed including 30 British nationals, in the attack on Port El Kantaoui near Sousse. 

Bob said: “I think the area around Sousse was affected more by the decline than in Djerba.

“I think Djerba already had a hard time in the tourism industry, many hotels were already abandoned before 2015, but after the terrorist attacks it became even worse.

“I think it’s not only abandoned due the attacks but made even worse because of the media and government. 

“In Western Europe there have been many terrorist attacks and those countries remain ‘safe’ for tourists to visit. 

PICS BY BOB THISSEN / CATERS NEWS

“After the two terrorist attacks Tunisia was turned into a no-go zone, many airlines didn’t fly to Tunisia anymore until recently and it had a huge impact on the tourism industry.  

“You can only imagine how many people must have been fired in these giant resorts.”

Both Thomas Cook and TUI relaunched and increased flights and holidays to Tunisia this year.

The number of British tourists visiting the country is expected to reach 75,000 – a figure that is one-sixth of the numbers prior to the massacres. 

Bob said: “Since this year Western companies like TUI fly again to Tunisia and you can see the tourism industry slowly begins to rise from the dead.

“Quite a few hotels we drove by are in renovation, preparing for the returning tourism, which was good to see.”