Tunisia tourist numbers up 46% through May

The country saw an influx of over 1.5 million foreign visitors, the local tourism office said. Most tourists came from the Maghreb, but European travelers also increased.

Tunisia welcomed 1.528 million tourists from January 1 to May 20 this year, up 46.2% from a year ago. According to the latest statistics review from the National Office of Tunisian Tourism (ONTT) European tourists, especially from France and Germany, are returning to the African country.

Tourists from the Maghreb (Northwest Africa) were the majority, at 1.148 million people, up 51.6%. The bulk of visitors came from Algeria, at 628,300 people, up 68.3%), followed by Libya at 498,900 tourists, up 37.2%.

Although they accounted for only 17% of total numbers, European tourist numbers to Tunisia increased by 31.1%. Most of them were French – 153,000, up 45.1% – followed by Germany at 37,900 and Italy at 28,800 people. Tunisia welcomed 8,900 British travelers.

The number of Tunisian expatriates visiting their home country also increased, by 9.4% to 379,700 visitors, driving the number of non-resident tourists up to 1.9 million.

The Tunisian Central Bank reported that tourism revenue year-to-date through April was up 5.2% – a minor increment considering the 46.4% hike in visitor numbers. The industry grossed USD 200 million in the first four months of the year, down from USD 317.5 million in the comparable year-ago period.

ONTT president Afif Kchouck told news agency Tunis Afrique Presse that caution must be exercised, despite the optimism regarding indicators for the coming summer.

“Although forecasts for the summer are good regarding traditional markets, we must be at once optimistic and cautious, especially because even though Tunisia’s image has improved, it remains fragile in some aspects. Long-term results aren’t clear,” he said.

“It is imperative that we work on our image as a destination. This is basically a seaside country, and this is what drives tourism in Tunisia. If it works, then all other tourist products will as well,” he remarked.

Brazil Arab News Agency ANBA

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