Greener BeeGreen HolidaysTunisia gets Foreign Office green light for British holidaymakers two years after beach massacre

Tunisia has been taken off the no-go list for British holidaymakers, the Foreign Office has declared, two years after a beach massacre claimed the lives of 38 people.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office no longer advise against travel to Tunisia, except for parts of the south and interior and certain areas near the borders with Algeria and Libya,” it said in a statement.

With those 30 words, the Government gave a green light to travellers to return to the North African nation where the Arab Spring began in 2011. 

But in June 2015, 30 British holidaymakers and eight other nationals were killed by a lone gunman at a beach hotel in the resort of Sousse. It followed an attack three months earlier on the country’s leading cultural collection, the Bardo Museum in Tunis, in which 20 tourists died.

The Foreign Office continues to warn: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia.”

In lifting the blanket no-go ban, however, it adds: “The Tunisian authorities have improved security in tourist resorts and their ability to respond to a terrorist incident.

“Tunisian security forces have also improved and are better prepared to tackle terrorist threats than they were at the time of the 2015 attacks.

“But further attacks remain likely, including in places visited by foreigners such as tourist resorts.”

  • 1/32

    Tunisia

    The coffin of Denis Thwaites is carried from an RAF C-17, which repatriated the bodies of eight British nationals killed in the Tunisia terror attack, at RAF Brize Norton near Oxford in Britain

  • 2/32

    Tunisia

    The coffin of John Stollery is carried from an RAF C-17, which repatriated the bodies of eight British nationals killed in the Tunisia terror attack, at RAF Brize Norton near Oxford in Britain

  • 3/32

    Tunisia

    The coffin of Elaine Thwaites, one of the victims of the terrorist attack, is taken from the RAF C-17 aircraft at RAF Brize Norton in Tunisia

  • 4/32

    Tunisia

    Hearses carrying the victim’s of last Friday’s terrorist attack arrive at Tunis Airport

    Getty Images

  • 5/32

    Tunisia

    An RAF C17 transport aircraft arrives at RAF Brize Norton Airport in Oxfordshire carrying the bodies of 8 British people killed in the Tunisia gun attack

    Getty Images

  • 6/32

    Tunisia

    Ambulances carrying the victim’s of the terrorist attack arrive at Tunis Airport

    Getty Images

  • 7/32

    Tunisia

    Armed police continue to patrol Marhaba beach in Sousse

    Getty Images

  • 8/32

    Tunisia

    National guard members patrol at the beach near the Imperiale Marhaba hotel, which was attacked by a gunman in Sousse

  • 9/32

    Tunisia

    Military personnel attending to injured British nationals on board an RAF C-17 aircraft en route back to the United Kingdom, in Tunisia

  • 10/32

    Tunisia

    Military personnel attending to injured British nationals on board an RAF C-17 aircraft en route back to the United Kingdom, in Tunisia

  • 11/32

    Tunisia

    Holidaymakers lay flowers on Marhaba beach

    Getty Images

  • 12/32

    Tunisia

    Tourists pay tribute to the victims of the Sousse attack at a makeshift memorial on the beach at the Imperial Marhaba resort

    Reuters

  • 13/32

    Tunisia

    The Home Secretary Theresa May pays her respects with her counterparts, France’s Bernard Cazeneuve, left, Germany’s Thomas de Maiziere, second left, and Tunisia’s Najem Gharsalli, in Sousse

    Reuters

  • 14/32

    Tunisia

    Two tourists pay respects to victims of IS attack on beach in Sousse, Tunisia

    Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty

  • 15/32

    Tunisia

    Many people remain unaccounted for and many of their relatives have taken to social media in the hope of obtaining information about those who are still missing (Getty)

    Getty

  • 16/32

    Tunisia

    A boy holds a Tunisian flag at the spot on the beach where the attack took place

    Reuters

  • 17/32

    Tunisia

    A man kisses a Tunisian flag at the site of a shooting attack on the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse

  • 18/32

    Tunisia

    The front of the Marhaba hotel

    Getty

  • 19/32

    Tunisia

    Tunisian Ennahdha party member and former minister Houcine Jazir speaks with Belgium survivor couple Corman (R) and Claude Pesser after a mass shooting in the resort town of Sousse

  • 20/32

    Tunisia

    The bloodstained belongings of a tourist are seen on the sand in the resort town of Sousse

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 21/32

    Tunisia

    A broken glass window of the Imperiale Marhaba hotel is seen after a gunman opened fire at the beachside hotel in Sousse

    Reuters

  • 22/32

    Tunisia

    Blood stains cover the ground at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse, Tunisia after mass shooting

    Fethi Belais/AFP/Getty

  • 23/32

    Tunisia

    Policemen patrolling the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse where tributes have been laid to the dead

    AFP/Getty

  • 24/32

    Tunisia

    People stand in silence next to flowers during a gathering at the scene of the attack in Sousse, Tunisia

    Getty

  • 25/32

    Tunisia

    Messages and flowers are left on Marhaba beach where 38 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Souuse

    Getty Images

  • 26/32

    Tunisia

    Police officers control the crowd while surrounding a man suspected to be involved in opening fire on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia

  • 27/32

    Tunisia

    Medics help an injured man in Sousse

  • 28/32

    Tunisia

    A body lies on a street in Sousse

  • 29/32

    Tunisia

    Members of the Tunisian security forces in an armoured vehicle patrol a street in Sousse

  • 30/32

    Tunisia

    The beach where the massacre took place

    Lionel Tunisiano/Twitter

  • 31/32

    Tunisia

    A general view of the deserted pool and deck chairs at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel

    EPA

  • 32/32

    Tunisia

    A woman looks toward a glass door shattered by a bullet at Imperial Marhaba Hotel

    EPA

The immediate effect is that travel insurance is now once again valid for Tunisia; the FCO no-go warning had the effect of removing cover from standard policies.

The economic and humanitarian effects of the travel ban have been immense, with tens of thousands of Tunisian families losing their livelihoods as hotels and other tourist facilities shut down. The hope is now that British holidaymakers will return in their hundreds of thousands, as they did up to 2010.

There is no prospect, though, of large tour operators setting up package holidays for the remainder of the summer. TUI, the tour operator whose customers were killed at Sousse, said: “Thomson and First Choice follow the FCO’s advice for all destinations we operate to. As the overall level of advice has now changed for Tunisia, we will look at whether we will re-introduce the destination for future seasons, which will also take in to account customer demand.”

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook, the other big tour operator, said: “We’re pleased that the Foreign Office has taken this decision to open Tunisia back up to Brits.

“It’s great for Tunisia, which used to welcome many thousands of British holidaymakers. We’ll take a bit of time to look at how and when we put this once-popular destination back on sale and we will update our customers when we have any further news.”

It is unlikely that either TUI or Thomas Cook will have Tunisian programmes in place for the main winter season, but it is possible that some holidays could be arranged between February and Easter.

Abta, the travel association, said: “This change in level of travel advice means that travel to Tunisia can now resume and travel companies can put in place plans for holidays to Tunisia to restart, should they wish to do so.”

There are plenty of scheduled flights available, including a daily connection from London with the capital, Tunis, on the national airline, Tunisair. 

A British Airways spokesperson said restoring the airline’s link with Tunis is not on the agenda at present: “We constantly review our route network and customer demand, but we have no current plans.”

But BA’s sister airline, Vueling, launched a second weekly link from Barcelona to the Tunisian capital last month.

  • More about:
  • Tunisia
  • Foreign Office

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/tunisia-green-light-by-foreign-office-terrorism-attacks-sousse-bardo-museum-a7861056.html


Comments

Tunisia gets Foreign Office green light for British holidaymakers two years after beach massacre — No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *