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Published on : Wednesday, August 16, 2017
These attacks took a heavy toll on the country’s tourism sector, which accounts for around one-sixth of GDP and provides employment for more than 200,000 people.
In 2015, visitor numbers fell by 25% to 5.4 million and revenue from tourists dropped by 35% to $1.1 billion. Mass unemployment and business closures had a toll on the country’s resorts.
However, after two barren years, there are signs that the industry is finally coming back to life.
Mohamed Ali Toumi, president of the Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies said, “The biggest tour operators are back. All the hotels located on the seafront are full this summer.”
Latest figures from the National Office of Tunisian Tourism (ONTT) show 3.6 million visitors to July 31 this year, a 27% increase year-on-year. Visitors from Europe increased by 15% over the same period.
The Tunisian government has taken various steps to support the tourism industry through its crisis. A package of “exceptional measures” were introduced after the attack in Sousse, including financial support for tourist institutions, reduced taxes, and relaxed visa requirements. Extra security has been deployed around tourist sites.
However, Tunisian tourism authorities realize that recovery will not be a quick fix. It will recover, but will take time.