Tunisian tourism revenues are expected to decline 50 per cent in 2011 to TD1.8bn ($1.3bn).

The number of tourists visiting the country is also expected to drop to about 3.5 million people in 2011, compared with the 7 million visitors that travelled to Tunisia in 2010, says the country’s Tourism Minister Mehdi Houas.

Tourism is a major source of income in Tunisia and constitutes 6.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. One out of every five people works in the tourism sector in some capacity.

However, the minister also confirms that the Hilton and Accor hotel groups are expected to resume their activities, which had been frozen during the uprising in early 2011 that led to the ousting of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ben Ali and his wife were both sentenced to 35 years in prison on 20 June having been found guilty of embezzlement and misuse of public funds (MEED 21:6:11).