Tunisian economy shrank 21.6% in second quarter of 2020

Tourists walk, one of them wearing a protective face mask, in the Old City of Tunis. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s tourism-dependent economy shrank 21.6‮ ‬pct in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, due to the coronavirus crisis, the state statistics institute said on Saturday.

Unemployment‮ ‬rose to 18 percent in the second quarter.

The government ended all restrictions on movement and businesses and opened its sea, land and air borders on June 27. However, the pandemic is hammering the tourism sector, which contributes nearly 10% of gross domestic product and is a key source of foreign currency.

Tourism revenue in the first six months of this year fell by more than 50% from the same period of 2019 as western tourists deserted Tunisia’s hotels and resorts.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Christina Fincher