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article imageTunisia tourism keeps up recovery from jihadist attacks

By AFP     Oct 5, 2018 in Travel

More than six million foreign travellers visited Tunisia in the first nine months of 2018, according to government data, as tourism rebounds from devastating jihadist attacks three years ago.

Arrivals rose 16.9 percent to 6.3 million in the nine months to the end of September, surpassing the number for the whole of 2014.

Jihadist attacks in 2015 included one at the National Bardo museum in Tunis and another targeting a beach resort in Sousse, which together killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard.

Tourist arrivals bounced back in 2017 to above their pre-attack levels.

Tourism revenues in the first nine months of 2018 totalled just over 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), a rise of 27.6 percent year-on-year.

But receipts were only two thirds of the level recorded for 2014 as a whole.

Inflation and excessive reliance on beachside holiday packages have slowed the longer-term recovery of revenues, industry experts told AFP.

Arrivals from Europe and Russia rose nearly 45 percent, accounting for much of the surge, despite concerns that the hot European summer and the football World Cup could limit demand for Tunisian destinations.

Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik told AFP in May that she expected total arrivals to exceed eight million in 2018, higher than the seven million recorded in 2010, a benchmark year for Tunisian tourism.

Tour operator Thomas Cook, which suspended its Tunisia holidays in the wake of the June 2015 Sousse attack, resumed operations in February.

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