Published on : Thursday, February 22, 2018
Persistently avoiding Tunisia for three years because of a gun attack on a beach in Sousse wherein 39 tourists got killed followed by another at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis killing over 21, important tour operators of Europe have started to return.
To quote Salma Loumi, Tourism Minister, “We aim to receive 8 million tourists this year with strong booking rates from European customers and other new customers. The return of British tourists is a very good signal for us.”
Thomas Cook flew British tourists to Tunisia last week for the first time ever since an Islamist militant killed over 30 Britons in Sousse. TUI explained last month, it too planned to provide holidays in Tunisia again, commencing in May.
For visitors, Tunisia, for quite some time now, has been an attractive destination ever since 1960s. The capital city of Tunis, the ancient ruins of Carthage, the Muslim and Jewish quarters of Jerba, and coastal resorts outside Monastir are among the main tourist attractions of Tunisia. In 2014, the 8 million forecasts attracted tourist numbers above the pre-attack level of 7.1 million. In 2015, arrivals dropped to 5.3 million. Loumi explained that tourism revenues would be up 25 percent on last year which reached 2.8 billion dinar ($1.2 billion) respectively.
Last year, tourist numbers went up 23 percent on 2016 to 7 million, as hotels filled beds with Russian and Algerian visitors. However, operators stated that they spent less in comparison to European vacationers.
Tourism accounts around 8 percent of the gross domestic product of Tunisia. A return of European visitors would provide an impetus to the economy under pressure and raise the weak foreign currency reserves of the country.