Tunisia defends efforts to protect foreign tourists

Mr Essid said: “We will ring the British prime minister to tell him we have done everything we can to protect all British interests and those of others countries – that’s out duty”.


Britain on Thursday told all United Kingdom tourists to leave Tunisia, saying the North African country hasn’t done enough to enhance security. Flights have been organised to take them out of Tunisia by this weekend.

The government has carried out 7,000 security operations since the museum killing, arresting 1,000 people and stopping 15,000 young people from traveling to fight jihad overseas, Essid said, and was working to remedy “shortcomings”.

“Our “advice to travellers” underlines the terrorist risk in Tunisia and the ongoing threat from jihadist terrorist groups”, he said.

Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry said Tunisia is essentially inaccessible to Irish tourists, via direct flights, and it will be a while before the country returns to the holiday market.

The UK Foreign Ministry acknowledged additional security measures the Tunisian government put in place after the attack, but it said they were insufficient to protect British tourists. The diplomat, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said Western experts would meet next week in Tunis to discuss security measures.

All 30 Britons killed last month were customers of Thomson and First Choice.

Hammond, speaking on the sidelines of talks about Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna, said British authorities were in close contact with tour operators, who were arranging to get their customers home “as quickly as possible”.

“This attack is obviously going to have a devastating impact on the industry, and on the many jobs of Tunisians as well, so it’s a tragedy not only for the British victims of the attack but also for the Tunisians”, Edwards said.

A statement said: “As a result of the change in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice to travel to Tunisia, Thomas Cook can confirm that it has cancelled all future bookings to Tunisia up until October 31 2015”.

“We didn’t feel threatened at all”.

The United Kingdom decision amounts to a major new blow to Tunisia’s tourist industry.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, upgraded the travel advice to be the second-highest warning category in the five-point scale of travel advice, from exercising extreme caution.

The Foreign Office changed its travel advice last night, warning against trips to the country in the wake of the terror attacks.

A spokeswoman for travel agency Sunway said all Irish tourists who were travelling to Tunisia had returned home, adding that Sunway had suspended its programme to Tunisia “until the situation is clarified”.

In Paris, foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said France was not urging people to leave.


Three Irish tourists died in the June attack.

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