Tunisia attack: Tourism industry reels again

The June 26 beachfront attack at Sousse has left at least 27 people dead, including foreigners.

Story highlights

  • The deadly attack in Sousse comes just months after gunmen killed 23 at a Tunis museum
  • An analyst says the attack will probably cause a "massive reduction" in tourism in Tunisia
  • The country has been struggling to rebuild its tourism industry since the 2011 Arab Spring

(CNN)The deadly attack at a popular seaside resort in Tunisia has again derailed the fragile recovery of the country's tourism industry after the Arab Spring in 2011.

Only just recovering from the impact of the uprisings four years ago, Tunisia had once again emerged as a winter sun draw for tens of thousands of travelers.
But the beachfront shootings at Sousse may drive its tourism industry back into the shadows.
    "One of the main things you achieve when you hit tourist industries in countries like this that really depend upon tourism is that you are hitting the economy," said Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchins from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London.
    Meleagrou-Hitchins said the Tunisia attack would probably lead to a "massive reduction" in tourism.
    "We have people relaxing on the beach on their holidays being murdered -- that is not going to help the attempts by the Tunisian tourist industry to get people to come to the country. This can probably be seen as an attempt to destabilize the economy as well as the wider political situation in Tunisia," he said.
    Global market research firm Euromonitor International said tourism was of "vital importance" for Tunisia and had been growing.
    "This growth however is highly dependent on the safety and stability in Tunisia. The recent outbursts of violence represent major threat for the country, which can escalate the political instability and security issues in this destination and ultimately keep travelers from visiting the country short to medium term," senior travel analyst Nadejda Popova said.
    "That said, there is an internal commitment to boosting the industry and therefore the authorities are likely to react and do whatever is possible to avoid any further issues," she said.

    Museum attack

    The deadly attack at Sousse comes just three months after a terror attack in the capital Tunis, which left 23 dead.
    Sousse itself has had previous scares. In October 2013, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a hotel in the resort city, but killed only himself.