According to recent data published by the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT), the country’s cumulative tourist revenues exceeded the 1 billion-dinar mark in the first quarter of 2023. This represents a remarkable increase of 64% compared to the same period last year. The data also revealed an 8.5% increase in cumulative labor income, reaching 1.9 billion dinars against 1.7 billion dinars in March 2022. The growth in the tourism industry and labor income is a positive sign for the Tunisian economy, which has struggled in recent years.
However, external debt services saw a significant surge of 23%, reaching 2.4 billion dinars during the first three months of the current year. The BCT has not released an explanation for this sudden rise in external debt. Moreover, while the increase in tourist revenue is impressive, net foreign exchange assets dropped from 22.7 billion dinars (equivalent to 122 days of imports) at the beginning of April 2022 to nearly 22.1 billion dinars (equivalent to 95 days of imports) on April 7, 2023.
Despite this, the overall volume of refinancing exceeded 16.5 billion dinars as of March 7, 2023, up 46.8% compared to the same period in 2022. This suggests that Tunisia’s economic situation is improving overall, even with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.