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Pandemic impact on Tunisia tourism ‘catastrophic’

Pandemic impact on Tunisia tourism ‘catastrophic’
Kais Saied is a Tunisian politician, jurist and former lecturer serving as the fifth President of Tunisia since October 2019. He was president of the Tunisian Association of Constitutional Law from 1995 to 2019.

Tunisia’s tourism sector has collapsed, officials warned on Saturday, with earnings plunging 60% and swathes of hotels at risk of closing permanently.

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The sector, a major employer that accounts for 14% of the North African nation’s GDP, 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 totalled 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.

“Sixty percent 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.

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