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Tunisia sees losses of $515m for tourism this year after attack

30 June 2015, 12:23

Tunis - Tunisia expects to lose at least $515m this year, or about a quarter of its estimated annual tourism earnings, following last Friday's attack on a beach hotel that killed 39 people, mostly British holidaymakers.

The attack by a gunman on the Imperial Marhaba beach hotel in the popular resort town of Sousse came just months after militants attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing 21 people, and delivering a blow to the country's vital tourism industry.

"The attack had a great impact on the economy, the losses will be large," Tourism Minister Salma Loumi told reporters late on Monday, giving a preliminary estimate from the Sousse attack.

Also Read: New video shows Tunisia killer on beach

The North African country earned $1.95bn in revenues from tourism last year. The sector makes up 7% of its gross domestic product and is a major source of foreign currency and employment for Tunisia.

Loumi said the government planned to end a visitors' tax and also to review debt relief for hotel operators as ways to help sustain the industry.

Authorities have arrested suspects tied to the attacker, but have given few details.

Investigators are also verifying whether the attacker, a student, Saif Rezgui, spent time training in jihadist camps in neighbouring Libya. He gave few clues about his radicalization to family and friends in his hometown.

- Reuters


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