Tourism rebounds in Tunisia but still shy of 2010 levels


Tunisia’s tourism industry rebounded in the first four months of 2012 after taking a hit following the uprising that toppled president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, official data showed Tuesday.

Tourist arrivals through April increased by 51.8 percent compared with the same period the previous year, to 1.4 million visitors, said a note published by the central bank.

Cash revenue from tourism also increased 34.1 percent.

That comes after a 41.8 percent drop in visitors year-on-year for the same period in 2011 and a 30.5 percent drop in cash revenue.

But the number of visitors was still 11.7 percent below arrivals in the first four months of 2010, before the start of the revolution that touched off the Arab Spring and brought down Ben Ali’s government in January 2011.

Libyans led the list of nationalities visiting the country with 634,000 tourists. The largest share of the European market was from France with 228,800 arrivals.

The data also showed a recovery in agriculture, but a softening industrial sector.

“The fallout of the economic recession in the eurozone has started to make itself felt, as the fall in mechanical and electric industrial exports in April 2012 -- 4.1 percent -- and those in the clothing, leather and footwear industries attest,” the central bank said.

It said inflation was also up to 5.5 percent on average over the period, against 3.5 percent in 2011.