July 8, 2019 / 1:16 PM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-Tunisia's tourism revenues jump 42.5% in first half 2019

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TUNIS, July 8 (Reuters) - Tunisia’s tourism revenues soared 42.5% in the first half of 2019 to $692 million compared to the same period last year, official figures showed on Monday.

The figures came days after three suicide bombings in Tunis, by militants targeting police, as Tunisia prepares for autumn elections and is in peak tourist season.

Islamic State has claimed all three attacks.

Tourism Minister Rene Trabelsi said the bombings should have no impact on tourism, with bookings unaffected and Tunisia on track for a record year with 9 million tourists.

The number of tourists rose 17 pct in the first half of this year to 3.8 million compared to the same period in 2018.

Major European tour operators started to return last year, after three years of shunning Tunisia following an attack on a beach in Sousse that killed 39 tourists and a separate attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis that killed 21.

The number of tourists jumped to 8.3 million last year.

Tourism accounts for 8% of Tunisia’s gross domestic product. (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Andrew Cawthorne)

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