The summer tourist season began on a positive note, especially with the 4.8% increase in tourist arrivals (between the first semesters of 2012 and 2013), to more than 2.6 million visitors, without reaching the level of 2010 (-9.8%).
This is what emerges from the latest statistics released by the National Office of Tunisian Tourism (ONTT).
Maghreb entries (55% of total entries) totaled 1.4 million people including one million Libyan tourists and 360,430 Algerians.
From European markets (42.1% of tourist flow), Tunisia hosted 1.1 million tourists from January to June 2013 against 1.5 million during the same period of 2010, posting a 26.8% decline.
Tunisia’s first tourist market remains France (329,056 tourists), although it decreased by 19.9% over the past year.
Speaking of the prospects in this market, Minister of Tourism, Jamel Gamra had said on Monday that “President Francois Hollande’s statement that tourist areas in Tunisia are the safest in the world is a strong message to French tourists.” Germany comes second with (157,299 visitors) followed by England (178 867).
Russian tourists are up sharply by 51.6%, with 92,864 visitors in the first half of 2013.
Habib Ammar, Director General of the Tunisian National Tourist Office (ONTT) told TAP that last-minute sales can save the tourist season, especially since both British and Russian markets promise in 2013 record figures that have never been registered before. Similarly, visitors from Scandinavian countries have experienced during this period a significant increase of 30.2% over 2012 (23,572 in 2013 against 18,106 in 2012).
According to provisional figures ONTT, tourism revenues earned during the first six months of 2013 reached 1.2796 billion dinars (MTD), recording a modest increase of 0.2% over 2011, but remain always sharply lower (-6.3%) compared to 2010.
Tourism, one of the main drivers of the Tunisian economy, accounts for 7% of GDP and provides about 400,000 jobs. It has a ripple effect on a large number of economic sectors effect: transportation, trade, crafts, communications, agriculture, building…
In 2010, the sector generated between 18 and 20% per annum of foreign exchange earnings and covered 56% of the trade deficit.