Tunisia defends efforts to protect British tourists

Prime Minister Habib Essid told parliament on Wednesday that Tunisia “was facing numerous terrorist plans to destabilize the country”.


Guidance issued on Thursday by the Foreign Office forced British tour operators to halt all holidays to Tunisia in a massive blow to a key sector of its economy.

Nadal said the advice was based on an analysis of security threats and the measures taken by the Tunisian government to deal with them.

“The situation is under constant review, we are working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs.” she said.

Diplomats now rank Tunisia alongside a number of countries where war, terrorism, political instability or disease is a danger including Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Sudan and Guinea.

The Government has warned all United Kingdom tourists to leave Tunisia immediately and strongly advised against all but essential travel to the country after intelligence that a terrorist attack is “highly likely”.

They are also pulling out all British staff from Tunisia within 24 hours, a statement Friday said.

Many people have cancelled their trips to Tunisia, however, and a spokeswoman for ABTA said Thursday that an estimated 3,000 British tourists remained. In March, 22 people died in an attack at the National Bardo Museum outside Tunis.

A total of 38 holidaymakers were murdered when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire with a Kalashnikov on 26 June, before being shot dead by police. Those who are traveling independent are being urged to return on a commercial flight.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “In response to the recent change in FCO advice we have taken this decision to bring all Thomas Cook customers back to the United Kingdom as soon as we can using third party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend”.

Thomson and First Choice are now offering additional flights from airports across the United Kingdom to destinations including the Balearic Islands, Mainland Spain and Cyprus.

Mr Hammond said: “More work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat”.

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.

She further added, “We have seen all the extra security here and we feel very secure”. “They have been unbelievable”.

Some Tunisian officials were critical of the U.K.’s warning. Tour operators are switching capacity from Tunisia to Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey.

30 Britons lost their lives in the Sousse resort attack.

It stopped short of advising French nationals to return home.

Dangers of the Arab Spring a few years ago led to a temporary dry-out for Tunisia’s tourism industry, but 2013 saw a record surge in British visitors in particular, Tunisia’s tourism board told The Daily Mail.


It warned that further terrorist attacks are highly likely, including in tourist resorts, and by individuals unknown to the authorities whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media. “I believe, and I say this plainly and clearly: If this were to happen, which happened in Sousse, if this were to happen again, the country would collapse”.

Heidi Barlow feels secure in Tunisia and doesn't want to leave