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| 15 August, 2018

Tunisian tourism revival drives economic pickup in second quarter

Growth in Tunisia's economy picked up to 2.8% year on year in the second quarter

Tourists pose for a picture in downtown Tunis, Tunisia, January 18, 2018.

Tourists pose for a picture in downtown Tunis, Tunisia, January 18, 2018.

REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS - Growth in Tunisia's economy picked up to 2.8 percent year on year in the second quarter, as a revival in tourism, devastated three years ago by two militant attacks, gathered pace.

The growth rate accelerated from 2.5 percent in the first quarter, Wednesday's statistics office data showed.

The North African country's economy has been in crisis since the overthrow of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, but recently foreign visitors have started coming back.

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Tourism revenues rose by 42 percent to $554 million in the first seven months, the tourism minister said last week.

Major European tour operators have started to return this year, having steered clear in the wake of the 2015 gun attacks on a beach in Sousse, which killed 39 tourists, and one at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis that killed 21.

Officials have predicted some 8 million tourists will come this year, above the pre-attack level of 7.1 million registered in 2014.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Mohamed Argoubi; editing by John Stonestreet) ((Ulf.Laessing@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: follow me on twitter @ulflaessing))