Tunisia attack: Tourists urged to leave over terror fears

Philip Hammond said the United Kingdom hoped to downgrade its travel guidance “in the not too distant future”.


Security has already been increased in the wake of the atrocity which saw gunman Seifeddine Rezgui open fire on tourists using a Kalashnikov, but the United Kingdom government says the measures are not enough.

Essid said the government is working to remedy “shortcomings” in security efforts.

“Our customers’ safety is paramount to us”, the spokeswoman said.

Tour operators are arranging extra flights to ensure holidaymakers can leave, the government said.

Tunisia criticised Britain’s decision to urge tourists to leave the country after last month’s deadly terrorist attack, saying the damaging of the tourism industry was “what the terrorists want”. An attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis in March left 22 dead, mostly foreign tourists.

“The intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely”, United Kingdom officials said.

One British tourist who arrived in Tunisia the day before the Foreign Office changed its advice said that she was “shocked and disappointed” that she had to leave.

“Tunisia, which is dear to all of us, is going through hard circumstances, exceptional circumstances, that necessitate exceptional measures to face them and prevent a worse situation”, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said following the Sousse attack.

“Those with holidays booked within the next 48 hours to Tunisia are advised to contact their travel company to discuss available options”.

Extra flights have been laid on to bring tourists back to the United Kingdom – with the first holidaymakers expected to land at Manchester Airport later today.

Thomson and First Choice immediately cancelled all outbound flights to Tunisia for the summer season running up to and including October 31. The 30 Britons who died in Sousse were Thomson and First Choice customers and the operators – both owned by TUI Group – have no travelers in Tunisia.

If you want to contact them about bookings you’ve made, then call the customer service centre on 0800 009 3847 or 0203 636 1998 between 9am-9pm on Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm Saturday and 10am – 8pm Sunday. “They have been incredible”.

Britons are among the biggest customers of Tunisia’s tourist industry, and the travel warning will seriously damage trade, she warned.

Hundreds of thousands of Britons visit Tunisia each year.

Some 2,000 Thomas Cook travellers are now in Tunisia and will be offered flights home.

There are now 16 New Zealanders registered as being in Tunisia and a Foreign Affairs (MFAT) spokesperson says the ministry is keeping its travel advisory for Tunisia under close review.

This is the second-highest warning category on the Department of Foreign Affairs five-point scale for travel advice.


It comes just two weeks after the Sousse beach shooting claimed the lives of an Athlone couple, a woman from Meath and 35 others.

Flowers remain on the beach as police office patrol near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse Tunisia where 38 people lost their lives after a gunman stormed the beach