Tunisia's tourism industry recovers from jihadi violence

Tunisia's tourism industry recovers from jihadi violence
A series of terror attacks in Tunisia rocked the country's tourism sector from 2015, but there are rays of light on the horizon.
2 min read
Tunisia is slowly recovering from a series of terror attacks [AFP]

Tunisia's tourism industry has seen "real recovery" this year, after a series of terror attacks in 2015 all but killed the sector.

Revenues have risen nearly a third so far this year, the tourism minister said Wednesday.

"There is a significant improvement," Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik told AFP. "This is the year of real recovery."

Visitor numbers have bettered the first five months of 2014, largely due to rising Russian and Chinese arrivals.

A series of jihadi attacks in 2015 devastated Tunisia's tourism industry.

In 2015, gunmen attacked the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, while militants targeted a beach resort in Sousse - targeting tourists. Both attacks saw 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard killed.

This year visitor numbers are spectacularly up. Arrivals to the country surpassed 2.3 million through to 20 May - up 21.8 percent from the same period last year and 5.7 percent higher than for the same period in 2010.

Sector revenues hit $357 million (305 million euros), up 31.8 percent year-on-year.

There is even recovery from Tunisia's "traditional market" - including France and Germany - up 45 percent and 42 percent respectively.

Visitors from China and Russia surged 57 percent and 46 percent.   

"In 2018, we will surpass eight million visitors with growth from the Russian and Chinese markets as well as the traditional market," Elloumi said.

"People are coming back to Tunisia because there is security... we are at the same level (of security) as any European city," she said.

The return of tour operators including TUI France and the UK's Thomas Cook, which pulled out after the 2015 attacks, has also helped buoy the figures.