Tunisia sees 80% fall in tourist numbers

The Ministry of Tourism has reported an 80 per cent fall in the number of tourists to Tunisia last year. Only two million people visited the North African country, compared with 9.5 million in 2019.

This had a corresponding fall in the revenue from tourism. The sector declined to about 2 billion Tunisian dinars (about $732m) during the past year, compared with approximately 5.6bn dinars in 2019 (about $2bn). The ministry attributed this decline to the coronavirus pandemic.

Afif Kchouk, President of the Tunisian Tourism Observatory (OTT), said that he expects the difficulties to continue during the current year, reported Asharq Al-Awsat. As a tourist destination, he added, Tunisia will lose a large proportion of its European visitors. He stressed that domestic tourism would not compensate for the huge deficit recorded in terms of the number of arrivals at tourist hotspots in the country.

According to Khaled Fakhfekh, of the Tunisian Hotels Association, 90 per cent of Tunisian tourist hotels have been closed. Although the remaining 10 per cent continue to receive tourists, they have low occupancy rates.

The World Tourism Organisation has estimated that the number of tourists around the world dropped by 74 per cent last year due to the coronavirus crisis. The sector's revenues collapsed by about $1.3 trillion.

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