Pandemic impact on Tunisia tourism 'catastrophic'
The sector, a major employer that accounts for 14% of the nation's GDP, was hit hard by restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
TUNIS - Tunisia's tourism sector has collapsed, officials warned Saturday, with earnings plunging 60% and swathes of hotels at risk of closing permanently.
The sector, a major employer that accounts for 14% of the North African nation's GDP, has been hit hard by restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"There has been a drop in tourism activities of 60%, and we could reach 70% by the end of 2020," Tourism Minister Habib Ammar told reporters.
Tunisia's income from tourism this year has totalled just 1.56 billion dinars ($563 million), officials statistics showed.
Total bed nights - the number of nights visitors stayed in hotels - dropped by 79.5%.
"The current tourism situation is very bad - if not catastrophic," said Khaled Fakhfakh, president of the Federation of Tunisian Hotels.
"Sixty percent of hotels have not opened this year and they risk not reopening, mainly because of Covid-19."
Tunisia was already battling high unemployment before the start of the pandemic.
The small Mediterranean country, with a population of around 11 million, has recorded 191 deaths from the novel coronavirus out of 14,392 cases.