The number of tourists who visited Tunisia has dropped by nearly one million in the first nine months of this year to reach about four million as a result of the two terrorist attacks against tourists which may increase the difficulties of the already ailing economy, a senior minister said.
Tunis Afrique Presse quoted Minister of Tourism Salma Lummi as saying that four million tourists visited Tunisia until September compared to five million tourists in the same period last year.
“The rate of Western tourists fell by nearly 50 per cent because of the attacks, while several Western countries issued warnings to their citizens to avoid travel to Tunisia because of the possibility of more attacks,” Lummi explained.
The minister explained that despite the difficulties, this time could be used to start reforms in the sector including improving the quality of services and diversifying tourism products.
Tunisia has reduced its forecast for economic growth this year to 0.5 per cent from three per cent.
Tourism contributes to seven per cent of Tunisia’s GDP and is considered one of the most important resources of the country’s foreign exchange.
In June a gunman attacked tourists in a beach hotel in Sousse city, killing 38 including 30 from Britain. Three months earlier gunmen killed 21 foreign tourists outside the Bardo museum in Tunisia.
An Islamic State affiliate group claimed responsibility for both attacks.