Tunisia sees losses of $515 mln for tourism this year after attack
TUNIS - Reuters
A member of the Tunisian security forces stands guard near a bullet hole on a window at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis, on June 29, 2015 where a deadly attack took place the previous week. AFP PhotoTunisia expects to lose at least $515 million this year, or about a quarter of its estimated annual tourism earnings, following the June 26 attack on a beach hotel that killed 39 people, mostly British holidaymakers.
The attack by a gunman on the Imperial Marhaba beach hotel in the popular resort town of Sousse came just months after militants attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing 21 people, and delivering a blow to the country's vital tourism industry.
"The attack had a great impact on the economy, the losses will be large," Tourism Minister Salma Loumi told reporters late on June 29, giving a preliminary estimate from the Sousse attack.
The North African country earned $1.95 billion in revenues from tourism last year. The sector makes up seven percent of its gross domestic product and is a major source of foreign currency and employment for Tunisia.
Loumi said the government planned to end a visitors' tax and also to review debt relief for hotel operators as ways to help sustain the industry.
Authorities have arrested suspects tied to the attacker, but have given few details.
Investigators are also verifying whether the attacker, a student, Saif Rezgui, spent time training in jihadist camps in neighbouring Libya. He gave few clues about his radicalization to family and friends in his hometown.