Tunisia's tourism income falls 13.5 per cent

08 January 2003
Tunisia's tourism income shrank 13.5 per cent in 2002 to TD 2,023 million ($1,517 million), according to official figures released on 7 January. The fall is being attributed chiefly to the discouragement of Western holidaymakers following the Djerba massacre of 21 tourists, among them 14 Germans, at a synagogue in April (MEED 12:4:02). Europe is Tunisia's main tourist market. In 2001, German visitors accounted for over 38 per cent of total tourism income, and figures for the first nine months of 2002 showed that their numbers had declined 37.4 per cent. Hotel nights spent by foreigners declined 17.4 per cent in 2002, to 29.6 million. The tourism sector is Tunisia's main foreign currency earner, and second biggest employer after agriculture. A record 5.4 million people visited in 2001, up 7 per cent from 2000 and bucking the regional trend of decline following the 11 September terrorist attacks (MEED 20:12:02).

The TD 63 million ($47 million) expansion of Djerba airport is scheduled for completion in December 2003, officials quoted by Reuters said on 8 January. Capacity at the airport will be raised to four million passenger a year from the current 1.5 million, making Djerba Tunisia's largest airport.

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