9 Jul 2015

Foreign Office advises all British tourists to leave Tunisia

Warning that a “further terrorist attack is highly likely”, the Foreign Office advises that tour operators will be laying on extra flights to bring tourists home.

In its latest travel advice, the Foreign Office says: “If you are in Tunisia and you don’t have an essential need to remain you should leave by commercial means.

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

Thomas Cook is strongly advising its guests in the country to return on these flights, Thomas Cook statement

It is thought that some 3,000 British tourists are in Tunisia at the moment, and the Foreign Office statement warned them: “You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator, if you have one.”

Since the 26 June when a gunman shot dead 38 foreign tourists, including 30 Britons, on a beach in Sousse, the British government has been working to put additional security measures in place.

But on Thursday Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said “more work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat.”

The Foreign Office statement explained that “the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely” adding “On balance, we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time.”

In a statement travel company Thomas Cook said in response to the change in Foreign Office advice it had decided to bring all customers back to the UK as soon as we can “using third party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend.

“Thomas Cook is strongly advising its guests in the country to return on these flights.”

It also issued a helpline number for Thomas Cook customers: 01733 224 536

Tunisia depends heavily on tourism, which accounts for 15 per cent of its economy.