Tunisia assault could cripple North African tourism

28 June 2015

Tunisia attack also bad for Egypt and Morocco tourism

The recent attack on a Tunisian beach will further set back the country’s tourism industry, but it is likely to also have an impact on neighbouring countries that heavily depend on the sector.

Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco are established seaside holiday destinations with European tourists often choosing between the three North African states. As such, security concerns in each of the countries are likely to have an affect on each other.

Tunisia hosted 6.1 million tourists in 2014 with 15.2 per cent of the country’s GDP coming from the sector. For Egypt, travel and tourism contributes about 6 per cent of GDP and for both countries’ tourism is a vital lifeline that has historically injected cash into the economy and provided jobs for many cities.

The recent attacks leave Tunisia’s tourism industry devastated as foreign tourists desperately exit the country with airline companies offering additional flights out. And as the government promises a clampdown on security to better protect visitors and holiday destinations, the expectation is that hotels across the country are likely to be administrating cancellations rather than checking people in.

Egypt is also faced with major security concerns as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) affiliates continue to carry out assaults in the Sinai peninsula and Cairo. But, unlike Tunisia, the attacks have mainly targeted security personnel and military units, although earlier this month a suicide attack in Luxor killed two.

In the short-to-medium term, Tunisia is unlikely to recover from the recent events, but Morocco and Egypt will also feel their effect as the threat of Isis-affiliated attacks starts to become a real threat to foreign visitors in North Africa.

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