Tunisia’s tourism sector has collapsed, officials warned on Saturday, September 26, with earnings plunging 60% and swathes of hotels at risk of closing permanently.
The sector, a major employer that accounts for 14% of the North African nation’s gross domestic product, has been hit hard by restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“There has been a drop in tourism activities of 60%, and we could reach 70% by the end of 2020,” Tourism Minister Habib Ammar told reporters.
Tunisia’s income from tourism this year has totaled just 1.56 billion dinars ($563 million), officials statistics showed.
Total bed nights – the number of nights visitors stayed in hotels – dropped by 79.5%.
“The current tourism situation is very bad – if not catastrophic,” said Khaled Fakhfakh, president of the Federation of Tunisian Hotels.
“60% of hotels have not opened this year and they risk not reopening, mainly because of COVID-19.”
Tunisia was already battling high unemployment before the start of the pandemic.
The small Mediterranean country, with a population of around 11 million, has recorded 191 deaths from the novel coronavirus out of 14,392 cases. – Rappler.com
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