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Tourism: exceptional results

1 min

Tourism in Tunisia has experienced a significant rebound in 2023 with 8.8 million visitors, a 49.3% increase in a year, and is well on its way to surpassing a record set in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, according to an official from the Ministry of Tourism.

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia © Mena Today

Tourism in Tunisia has experienced a significant rebound in 2023 with 8.8 million visitors, a 49.3% increase in a year, and is well on its way to surpassing a record set in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, according to an official from the Ministry of Tourism.

"Our goal was to recover 80% of the tourist flows recorded in 2019," a record year that serves as a reference over the past decade, said Aymen Rahmani, Director of Studies and Cooperation at the Tunisian National Tourist Office (ONTT).

As of December 10, 2023, "Tunisia has exceeded this goal," he noted, with 8.8 million visitors compared to 8.7 million during the same period in 2019. "If we maintain the same trend by the end of 2023, we will reach 9.6 million visitors," Rahmani emphasized.

By December 10, 2023, revenues reached 6.7 billion dinars (approximately 2 billion euros). "This is an exceptional figure," said Rahmani, suggesting possible revenues of 6.9 billion dinars by the end of 2023. Leading the visitors are Algerians (2.7 million), followed by Libyans (2.1 million), and then the French (+14.6% with 974,000 tourists), according to Rahmani. The sector was already in recovery in 2022 when Tunisia had regained 68% of the tourist flow from 2019.

According to the World Bank (WB), the rebound has partially helped Tunisia, which is 80% indebted to its GDP, rebalance its current account deficit, thanks to increased foreign currency inflows, amid a very low growth rate (+1.2% projected by the WB for 2023).

The main reason for the economic slowdown is the drought that has affected Tunisia since the beginning of the year, reducing production in Tunisia's important agricultural sector. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has increased its imports of cereals (food and fodder) and energy, upon which it heavily relies.

Over the past decade, tourism, accounting for 9% of GDP, has suffered the repercussions of the Revolution that toppled dictator Ben Ali in 2011, as well as jihadist attacks that killed nearly 60 tourists in 2015 at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and in the seaside resort of Sousse (east-central Tunisia).

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