Threats to Tourism economy in North Africa

The terrorist attack on June 26, 2015 in Sousse that killed 39 European tourists – deliberately targeted, mainly British citizens – could deal a fatal blow to the first signs of the tourism economy’s recovery that began to emerge after lengthy public relations efforts from the Tunisian government in order to bring tourists back to Tunisia after the troubles generated by the “Arab Spring“. Representing approximately 15% of Tunisia’s national GDP, the tourism industry could lose about $500 million this year (2015) – nearly a quarter of its forecast annual revenue – and thus fueling greater economic hardship for the 2 million Tunisians who make a living out of it.

After the terrorist attack on March 18, 2015 at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, the terrorists may have achieved their goal of weakening once more the Tunisian economy with a view to making a political mess on which it hopes to capitalize. If tourists seem more used to the terrorist risk than before, the variety of tourism offers worldwide also affords them the opportunity to stay in places which are less susceptible to be attacked. Ultimately, it is northern Africa as a whole from Morocco to Egypt which should likely suffer the consequences of what happened in Tunisia.

Indeed, the future looks bleak as thousands of Tunisian citizens joined jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, and so they are all potential threats against the national security of a country like Tunisia whose people are yet inspired by a genuine desire for freedom. The fresh offensive carried out by terrorists in Sinai against the Egyptian military should make things even worse, possibly impacting tourism in Israel too. Many years will be needed to increase security and significantly reduce the terrorist threat against European tourists who usually express strong solidarity with those countries which count among their favorite vacation spots.