In light of the recent tragedy in Tunisia, the Foreign Office has urged all British nationals to leave the country as “a further terrorist attack is highly likely,” the statement of Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. The Foreign office has advised against all non-essential travel to Tunisia, and holiday providers have followed the advice – Thomson and First Choice for example have cancelled all outbound flights to Tunisia for the summer season. With up to 3,000 British tourists in the country, there’s a massive operation underway to fly everybody home, and with so many cancelled holidays there are lots of people who are having to rethink their plans. If you’re in Tunisia at the moment then you should be in contact with your holiday provider as soon as possible to arrange transport home, and if you’ve travelled independently you should try and book a seat home as soon as possible. For the latest Foreign Office travel advice, click here.
Tunisia Travel Warning
The horrific attack on 26th June claimed thirty British lives out of the thirty-eight tourists killed by a radicalised gunman, all of this taking place outside the five-star Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in Sousse, one of Thomson and Thomas Cook’s most popular luxury resorts for the summer season. Mr Hammond said: “While we do not have any information suggesting a specific or imminent threat, since the attack in Sousse the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, leading us to the view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.” The events at Sousse follow other terrorist action in the country back in March, when tourists at the Bardo Museum in Tunis were attacked. The Tunisian ambassador to the UK is quoted as saying that the UK decision is “what the terrorists want,” and although it’s true that the Tunisian tourism industry is going to be devastated after 26th June, I’m very much of the opinion that the safety of travellers should come first.
I’ve gathered the advice from the three major holiday providers to Tunisia – Thomson, Thomas Cook and Expedia. Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all outbound flights to Tunisia for the summer season, which is up to and including the 31st October, and are also in the process of repatriating their staff. Customers due to travel to Tunisia up to and including 31 October will be given the opportunity to change their holiday free of charge to any of Thomson or First Choice’s destinations currently on sale, with the two providers offering additional flights from airports across the UK to destinations including the Balearic Islands, Mainland Spain and Cyprus – customers will get a £50 discount each per person if they choose these new flights. If you can’t change to another holiday that suits you, you will of course receive a full refund. You can find full details from Thomson and First Choice here.
Expediais a little more complicated, as their holiday deals combine flights and hotels provided by third parties, but with recent events you should be able to cancel. They’ve set up a website with contact information for the various airlines and hotels – some you’ll be able to cancel yourself free of charge from your “Bookings” section on Expedia, but is your hotel or flight tries to charge you then ring the Expedia customer services number and they’ll be able to advise you. You can find the details from Expedia here.
Thomas Cook have gone the same way as Thomson and First Choice, cancelling all bookings in Tunisia up until 31st October. For customers still in Tunisia, everyone will be flown home on 10 scheduled flights and some third-party flights, with Special Assistance Teams being sent to the country to help advise customer in resorts and en route. As of the 9th July the provider has around 2000 customers still in the country. If you’ve booked a holiday to Tunisia with Thomas Cook that falls within the period being cancelled then you can call them or pop into your local Thomas Cook shop to arrange cancellation or to change to a different holiday – you’ll find all of the information from Thomas Cook here.
I’m personally very saddened by recent events, and will of course be monitoring the situation for tourists around the world, taking this into consideration when looking for deals. YourHolidayGuru sends condolences to anyone who lost a loved one in the tragedy, and I wish any of you still in Tunisia a safe trip back home. For those of you having to change your plans because of the incident, and indeed anyone travelling in the wake of the attack, have a happy, enjoyable and, most importantly, safe holiday.