Tunisian and Egyptian tourism rebounds from adversity

Along the brightly lit alleys of the World Travel Market (WTM) exhibition at London’s Excel centre this month, it seemed experts on every stand had a story to tell.

For Caribbean islands, ravaged by hurricanes in September, the talk was of overcoming the legacy of natural disasters causing hundreds of deaths and damage estimated in the billions of dollars.

The region attracted a record 30 million visitors in 2016 and predicts further growth this year, although market expansion is expected to slow down following the hurricanes.

On other stands, economic issues from Brexit to domestic crises were cited as reasons for concern.

But when travel professionals discuss the challenges their industry faces, it is the threat of terrorism that dominates the thoughts of many.

Few countries have suffered as badly from the effects of extremist violence, or fear of it, as Tunisia and Egypt.

Tunisia offers a striking example of not only the impact of terrorism but the ability of a nation to triumph over adversity and rebuild a damaged industry.

The North African state relies heavily on holidaymakers as a source of foreign income, accounting for up to 8 per cent of GDP and giving employment to more than 400,000 people directly and indirectly.

The industry was showing signs of recovery from the repercussions of the Arab Spring when a series of deadly terrorist attacks in 2015 all but wrecked confidence.

Twenty-two people were murdered at the Bardo National Museum, 38 more later in the same year in an attack on a beach resort near Sousse and 12 in the suicide bombing of a police bus in the capital Tunis.

The National


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