Spain’s leading hotel chain Riu is considering pulling out of Tunisia after extremist attacks that killed 59 tourists and devastated the Tunisian tourism industry. RIU said in a statement Monday that it is in talks with owners of the nine properties it currently operates in Tunisia about their future. RIU operated the Imperial Marhaba Hotel targeted in a deadly attack on the Mediterranean resort town of Sousse in June.
The company will start pulling out of Tunisia on September 30, and may sell its operations to the hotel owners or other investors.
The Tunisian central bank says tourism revenue this year is down 76 percent since 2010, before a popular revolt overthrew a dictator and sparked uprisings around the Arab world. The Arab Spring brought Tunisia democracy and more freedoms, but the years since have seen growing security threats from Islamic radicals, such as those who targeted tourists in Sousse and the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March. The number of European tourists has dropped 50 percent. A Tourism Ministry official said 50,000 jobs are expected to be lost out of about 400,000 total linked to the industry.