FCO advises against travel to Tunisia

Port El Kantaoui beach, the site of an attack that has disrupted the Tunisia tourism industry   Photo:   Ahisgett

The Foreign Office has warned against “all but essential” travel to Tunisia, amid concerns of further attacks. British tourists in the country are being advised to leave immediately.

Last month, an attack in Sousse killed 38 holidaymakers, of whom 30 were British. Since then, the Foreign office has been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups in Tunisia.

On Thursday night, though, the Foreign Office upgraded its advise against travel to Tunisia.

“Although we have had good co-operation from the Tunisian government, including putting in place additional security measures, the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably,” said the FCO in a statement, “reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.”

“On balance, we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time,” added the FCO.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond commented: “The Tunisian investigation into those behind the Sousse attack and that on the Bardo museum earlier this year is ongoing and the Tunisians have made clear they want to track down further individuals who they suspect may have links to this attack.”

“We have not taken this decision lightly but our first priority will always be the safety of our citizens,” he added. “In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to keep the situation under close review and to work with the Tunisians to further understand the threat and to strengthen their security response to it.”

Tour operators are now arranging additional flights and will be organising departures for their customers.

Tourists currently in Tunisia are advised by the Association of British Travel Agents to contact your travel company to confirm arrangements for returning home.

Those who have travelled independently are advised to follow Foreign Office advice and consider if it is essential to stay in Tunisia.

“For anyone due to travel, you should be aware that travelling out to Tunisia at this time is likely to invalidate your travel insurance policies,” commented the ABTA.