Shopkeeper helped tourists hide in Tunisia attack

Now he fears for tourism industry

Shopkeeper Helped Tourists Hide in Tunisia Attack

Asgmi Bubaker's shop in Sousse, Tunisia, is just 20 metres away from where police shot dead the gunman in last week's beach resort attack.

He sheltered terrified tourists in his souvenir shop and everyone was safe - unlike the 38 people who were killed.

Bubaker said: "The tourists came by running very fast. They say there is a terrorist and they have a big problem as their hotel is a bit far from here.

"And maybe this man was following these people to shoot them. So I said to these people 'come inside.'"

He then shut the shop and they all waited inside until the terrifying ordeal was over.

End of tourism?

Outside the shop, his Mercedes car now has bullet holes in it. And Bubaker wonders whether his country's tourism industry is at an end.

Thousands have left the North African country since Friday and the government estimates the sector will lose $500 million this year - a quarter of last year's total revenues, reports Reuters.

Big hotels now sit empty and major British tour operators have temporarily suspended travel to the country.

"If tourists don't come back, it's over," Bubaker said outside his store filled with flags, T-shirts and crafts.

"It's not just me, it's two million Tunisians who live off this business, hotels, taxis, stores, restaurants."

Friday's attack hit at the heartland of Tunisia's Mediterranean beach resorts, popular with Europeans who make up a portion of the six million holidaymakers who visit each year places like Sousse, Hammamet and the island of Djerba.

Targeting tourists and sparing Tunisians, the gunman Saif Rezgui shot his way through the hotel, leaving bodies on the beach, before he was killed by police.

Most victims were Britons and authorities are still investigating his militant ties.