Tourism sector hit by Tunisia revolt
The number of tourists coming to Tunisia decreased by half after the onset of the revolution that overthrew then President Ben Ali last January. According to Mehdi Houas, the Tunisian Minister of Tourism, revenues are expected to decrease further this year by about 50 percent to 1.8 billion Tunisian dinars (1.3 million dollars). The number of tourists is expected to decrease to about 3.5 million tourists from 7 million in 2010.
Tourism in Tunisia is the primary source of income, constituting 6.5 percent of the Tunisian GDP. One out of every five people works directly or indirectly in the tourism sector.
On the other hand, the Minister of Tourism affirmed that the Hilton and Accor hotels agreed to resume their activities, which had been frozen during the revolution. Accor is expected to reopen two hotels that it had closed due to the mass protests last January.
The Tunisian Minister added that he’s expecting the sector to recover as tourists learn that the situation is no longer dangerous.
One problem Tunisia faces is that it targets a sensitive tourist population, including the elderly and families, who plan trips far in advance and are easily influenced by bad news.