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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Third of Tunisia tourism revenue disappear after Sousse terror attack

Tunisia lost more than a third of its tourism revenues last year after attacks targeting the vital sector claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, official figures showed Thursday.

Two IS attacks last year killed 59 foreign tourists, badly shaking an industry that accounts for seven percent of the country’s GDP.

“The national economy in 2015 saw a decline in activity… notably in the industrial and service sectors, which were affected by the terrorist events and despite the success of the political transition,” Tunisia’s central bank said.

The country is hailed as a rare success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, although authorities have failed to redress the economy or resolve the problems of social exclusion.

Tourist entries in 2015 dropped by 30.8 percent compared to the previous year and tourism revenues declined by 35.1 percent, the bank said.

Last year the number of tourists from Europe fell by 53.6 percent compared to 2014 — or by 65.4 percent compared to 2010, figures from the tourism ministry showed.

The 2011 revolution that ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali also dealt a blow to the tourism sector.

In March, 21 tourists and a policeman were killed in a gun attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, while in June an attack at a beach resort near Sousse killed 38 holidaymakers.

IS also claimed a suicide bombing in Tunis in November that killed 12 presidential guards.

Last year several hotels closed temporarily due to a lack of tourists.

Travel operator Thomas Cook on Tuesday cancelled all British bookings to Tunisia until November following a wave of protests across the country.

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