Hotel chain considers Tunisia pull-out
A leading Spanish hotel operator is considering pulling out of Tunisia after extremist attacks that killed 59 tourists and devastated the Tunisian tourism industry, Associated Press reported.
RIU is in talks with owners of the nine properties it currently operates in Tunisia about their future. RIU operated the Imperial Marhaba Hotel that was targeted in a deadly attack on the Mediterranean resort town of Sousse in June.
Tunisian Hotel Federation chief Radhouane Ben Salah said RIU?s decision was prompted by difficulty in marketing Tunisia to tourists after the attacks.
He said the company will start pulling out of Tunisia on September 30, and may sell its operations to the hotel owners or other investors.
He said about 50 of the country?s 600 hotels have already closed since the attacks.
Tunisia?s tourism minister said the number of visitors has dropped 20 percent so far this year to four million.
The number of European tourists has dropped 50 percent, the state news agency TAP reported, though Algerian and Tunisian tourists have made up a portion of the difference.
A Tourism Ministry official said 50,000 jobs are expected to be lost out of about 400,000 total linked to the industry.