Tourists return home following Tunisia beach attack

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

Tourists are returning home to the UK following the attack on a Tunisia beach last week.

The attack at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse on 26th June killed 15 British nationals, in what the Foreign Commonwealth Office has described as “the most significant attack on British people since 7/7”.

“This act of evil and brutality demonstrates why we must confront this kind of extremism, wherever it happens, at home or abroad,” said Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood.

The Association of British Travel Agents estimates that there were approximately 20,000 customers on holiday with ABTA Members at the time of the attack. Now, tour operators and airlines have begun to cancel flights and help to repatriate those affected.

Travel agents such as Thomson and First Choice cancelled holidays to the country this week, while extra flights have been arranged to bring guests from Tunisia to the UK. Airlines including easyJet and Jet2 have allowd customers to change plans free of charge, although operators are under no obligation to refund passengers unless the FCO warns against travel.

The FCO currently advises British tourists that “further terrorist attacks in Tunisia, including in tourist resorts, are possible, including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities and whose actions are inspired by terrorist groups via social media”.

“You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator,” warns the FCO.

It advises against travel to  the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef, the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba and areas within 5km of the Libya border from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing.

All but essential travel is advised against in areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir), within 30km of the border and the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla.

424,707 British nationals visited Tunisia in 2014. Most British tourists stay in the coastal resorts and most visits are trouble free.

For those in Tunisia, the FCO has opened a hotline on +44 207 008 0000.