Tunisia sees losses of $515 million for tourism after attacks

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Baku, June 30, AZERTAC

Tunisia expects to lose at least $515 million this year, or about a quarter of its estimated annual tourism earnings, following last Friday's attack on a beach hotel that killed 39 people, mostly British holidaymakers, according to World Bulletin.

The attack by a gunman on the Imperial Marhaba beach hotel in the popular resort town of Sousse came just months after militants attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing 21 people, and delivering a blow to the country's vital tourism industry.

"The attack had a great impact on the economy, the losses will be large," Tourism Minister Salma Loumi told reporters late on Monday, giving a preliminary estimate from the Sousse attack.

The North African country earned $1.95 billion in revenues from tourism last year. The sector makes up seven percent of its gross domestic product and is a major source of foreign currency and employment for Tunisia.

Loumi said the government planned to end a visitors' tax and also to review debt relief for hotel operators as ways to help sustain the industry.

Authorities have arrested suspects tied to the attacker, but have given few details.

Investigators are also verifying whether the attacker, a student, Saif Rezgui, spent time training in jihadist camps in neighboring Libya. He gave few clues about his radicalization to family and friends in his hometown.

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