Tunisia tourism revenue up 2%


TUNIS – Tunisia’s tourism revenue rose 2 percent to 3.21 billion dinars ($2.5 billion) in the 11 months to Nov. 30 despite the global slowdown, the state news agency quoted the country’s tourism minister as saying on Sunday.

Revenue from visitors is now the North African country’s top foreign currency earner and the biggest employer after labour-intensive farming.

Revenue from tourism reached a record 3.3 billion dinars in the January-November period in 2008 with 7 million tourists. Tunisia has a population of around 10 million.

“Sector revenues amounted to 3.21 billion dinars, an increase of 2 percent compared to (the same period in) 2008,” the TAP news agency quoted Tourism Minister Khelil Lajimi as saying.

“The indices we have registered remain much better than the expectations of the World Tourism Organisation,” he said.

The number of tourists visiting Tunisia was 6.4 million in the year to Nov. 30, down 2.6 percent from the first 11 months of 2008, said Lajimi.

Tunisia has responded to lower consumer spending in Europe, its biggest tourism market, by trying to attract higher-spending tourists and by increasing spending on advertising.

In an interview with Reuters in June, the tourism minister said Tunisia hoped that full-year tourism revenues for 2009 would be the same as last year.