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Tourism vulnerable after Tunis attack?

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 02:24

Tunisia deploys its military in major cities after a militant attack this week saw 20 tourists shot dead - and, as Joel Flynn reports, begins to assess the damage to its main cash earner, its tourism industry.

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Independence day in Tunisia. But muted celebrations. The country still reeling after an attack in the capital Tunis that killed 20 foreign tourists. The government is deploying the army to major cities - nine people arrested in connection with the militant attack on a museum, Islamic State claiming responsibility. Tourists here have shown their support for the country, joining a solidarity protest on Thursday. But fear of further attacks on travellers could hurt this economy - one that depends on tourism for vital income. SOUNDBITE: American Tourist, Caroline Anger, saying (English): "I think it's more important than ever right now to show solidarity with the foreigners and the Tunisians who are experiencing this crisis because what the terrorists want is for us to be at home and not come to Tunisia and to destabilise this post-revolutionary society" Tunisia was the shining light of 2011's Arab Spring - a peaceful uprising by the people pushing out a dictator and ushering in democratic elections. But attacks like this could have far reaching consequences for the economy. And Tunisia's not the only one. This is just the latest attack on foreign travellers in the Middle East and Africa. Kenya's economy hurting badly, as assaults by militants from Somali militant group Al Shabaab in particular have impacted the number of people visiting the country. Others too in the region, like Egypt, also feeling the fallout. The possibility of an attack on tourists closer to home in Europe is a threat now being pondered. That alone could hurt tourism-dependent economies. But for the international investment community, not everyone is paying attention. Mike Ingram is from BGC Partners. SOUNDBITE: BGC Partners Market Analyst, Mike Ingram, saying (English): "I do think it is part of a broader picture of increasingly pervasive Islamic militantism and a function of political fragmentation, economic inequality, these are all such a big inter-generational themes that are in play, but as I said I don't think the market's actually looking that far forward at this point in time, and I have to wonder when they will suddenly wise up." Cruise ships arrive in Spain - absent some of those killed in Wednesday's attack. Many passengers here opting to cut short the rest of their holidays and return home. Cruise operator Costa meanwhile suspending operations in Tunisia. The future of tourist hotspot economies could well depend on how companies and countries respond to the threats of future attacks.

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Tourism vulnerable after Tunis attack?

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 02:24