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Can Tunisia save its tourist industry?

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 01:58

Tunisia is reeling as tourists flee the country in their thousands after a gun deadly gun attack, leaving many locals fearful that their livelihoods are going with them. As Hayley Platt reports tourism accounts for a sixth of the country's GDP.

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Tunisia has stepped up security at the beach resort where dozens of tourists were shot dead last Friday. It's already reopened for business but thousands of holidaymakers have left on emergency flights laid on by tour operators. In their place tributes to those who tragically lost their lives. Many now fear for the future of the country's crucial tourist trade. IG's Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "Tunisia and all of the north African nations that enjoy a sizeable income from tourism will find negative consequences on the back of this, especially as governments alert their citizens to the risks involved. The likes of say Tui travel have about 3 percent of their overall holiday exposure to Tunisia and will no doubt look to curtail some of that ongoing business." Last year more than 6 million tourists arrived in Tunisia. They contributed more than 15 percent to the country's GDP. Providing jobs for around 12 percent of the working population. Tourism had already taken a hit following the attack on the Bardo museum in March. Now local traders are expecting the worst. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ARTISAN SHOP OWNER, MONDER SHAYATA, SAYING: "We have children and a family to feed, you know what I mean? Things are a bit messed up." Tunisia was considered a model for other north African countries after its 2011 uprising to oust former president Ben Ali. But its young democracy, with a new constitution and free elections, is being tested by the rise of hardline Islamist movements. A defiant Tourism minister insists it's business as usual. (SOUNDBITE) ( Arabic) CHIEF SECRETARY OF THE TUNISIAN TOURISM MINISTRY, NABIL BZIOUECH: "Tourism won't stop, we're continuing with a dinner on July 2nd, to show we won't give up. Tourism will continue in Tunisia!" But travel agents are already offering alternative destinations to tourists booked on Tunisian holidays. The extra security measures may have come too late.

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Can Tunisia save its tourist industry?

Monday, June 29, 2015 - 01:58