Jun 29, 2015

Posted by in Destinations, Features, Travel News, Trip Advice | 50 Comments

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Should I travel to Tunisia?

Following the deadly Tunisian terror attack in the resort of Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse, on Friday – as well as the earlier atrocity in Tunis on March 18 – many holidaymakers will be nervously wondering whether they should still travel to this popular sunshine destination.

Tunisia flag

Current Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice urges travellers to be “especially vigilant” while in the country and does not rule out possible further attacks. However, the FCO advisory stops short of telling British citizens outright not to travel to Tunisia, meaning holidays to the country continue for those who wish to take them.

The FCO advises British nationals against travelling to certain parts of the country – inland around the borders with Algeria and Libya and well away from the tourist beach resorts – but these restrictions have been in place for some time. For the latest advice, check the FCO site.

So, what do you need to know if you’ve booked a trip to Tunisia or are planning to?

Is it still safe to travel to Tunisia?

The FCO has no specific travel warnings in place for the popular beach resorts of Hammamet, Sousse, Skanes and Port El Kantaoui or for travel to the capital, Tunis – just follow the general advice outlined above.

As with any holiday, ensure your trip is fully insured in case anything goes wrong or the situation in the country changes.

If you can, book an ATOL-protected package or flight-plus holiday to receive protection under the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL scheme. Then, should the FCO change its advice before you are due to travel and your trip is cancelled as a result, you would receive a full refund.

Alternatively, if you were already on an ATOL-protected holiday and the FCO advised British nationals to leave the country, you would receive some compensation for the parts of your holiday affected and your travel company would organise your trip home.

I have a package holiday booked to Tunisia in the next week or two. Can I change or cancel my booking?

If you want to change or cancel your trip, you will need to speak to your tour operator. However, all operators are continuing to run holidays to Tunisia at the moment, and while some may offer a free cancellation or change to your holiday destination or accommodation, most booked holidays to the country aren’t directly affected by the current tragedy.

Before you change your plans, refer to your company’s booking conditions as you may have to pay cancellation fees.


I have a package holiday booking later this year, but don’t want to go now – what can I do?

You will need to speak to your tour operator or airline. Again, you may incur normal cancellation and amendment fees to change destinations or dates or to cancel the whole trip.

I have made independent arrangements to travel to the country – do I have any rights?

If you cancel your trip you may lose money if the travel companies you have booked with are not offering free cancellation. Many do not.

Airline tickets are usually non-refundable for the lowest-priced fares. Some accommodation can be cancelled free of charge or at a low cost. The same is true for car hire.

Refer to your documentation or contact your travel company for full terms and conditions.


Can I claim for any losses from an insurer?

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim from an insurer for any losses, as simply deciding you no longer want to travel is not a valid reason to make a claim.

Any claims as a result of terrorism, civil unrest, revolutions or other such situations are rarely successful, either.

It is interesting that today (29 June 2015) Aviva has announced that if customers with its policies are unable to recover costs from their tour operator for cancelling a holiday to Tunisia, they will allow claims for this. We have not seen such an announcement before and you should check Aviva’s website for further information or call 0800 015 2577.

What if I travel to parts of Tunisia against the advice?

If you decide to visit areas the FCO advises against, your insurance cover will be invalid from all companies.

Please note: All details were correct at the time of writing.

  1. And now to add insult to injury the German tourists are being offered free amendments up to April and UK customers with the same company are being charged £35 per person or have to remain in limbo http://suzyb.net/?p=565

  2. It’s intersting how different companies apply their policies across different territories.

    It could be due to different advice from the German government to that from the UK’s Foreign Office, however it makes it tougher on UK travellers wanting to amend so far out.

    Which company are you referring to?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a package holiday booked to Egypt travelling on 4 February 2011. Can I change or cancel my booking?

    • Hi

      You need to check with the tour operator, airline or travel agent you hve booked with. It will depend who you are travelling with and their policy as well as where you are travelling to as to whether you can change or amend your booking free of charge or whether normal booking conditions will apply.

      In general all travel to the Red Sea resorts is continuing as normal, however for travel to Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria and Suez, booking companies are allowing flexibility.

      Each company has their own policy, however contact them as soon as possible.


  4. Manohar says:

    I have a package holiday booked to Tunisia travelling in the next few days. Can I change or cancel my booking?

    • Hi

      This will depend on what you have booked and who with.

      Major package tour operators such as Thomson and Thomas Cook have cancelled all departures until the end of February.

      Airlines have different policies depending on when and how you bought your ticket and when you are travelling.

      Again, contact your tour operator, airline or travel agent for the latest advice on your personal plans.


  5. pamela hart says:

    could you please inform me if you think it is safe to still go to tunisia, we are travelling in july with our 2 young grandchildren and i dont want them to feel unsafe with all the trouble that is going on in libya and a lot of the libyans are moving into tunisia also we have to pay for the remainder of the holiday at the begining of may i have spoken to the travel company who booked this holiday for us but they said thomas cook was still allowing people to travel could you please help us and give your honest opinion as to what we should do thank you

    • Hi Pamela

      This really does have to be a personal decision on current advice.

      As the FCO is not advising against travel to Tunisia and is only really advising general caution at present, then the tour operators and airlines will continue to operate due to the investment they have in the entire holiday operation in the country.

      If you choose to cancel you would be losing your deposit at this stage, this applies up to 70 days prior to trvelling with a Thomas Cook package. The amount you lose then escalates the closer to the departure date. The company would only allow free cancellations should the FCO advice change and as we have already seen earlier this year, events can change dramatically in a only a few days.

      The Libyan situation is difficult to read in terms of the effects it will have on neighbouring countries such as Tunisia and the tour operators will be watching the situation closely in the coming days. However most nationals (who were not Libyan) who crossed into Tunisia are now generally back home after an airlift to take them out, so it would only be Libyans themsleves. The main Tunisian resorts are far from the borders (except for Djerba)so in the main you are well away from that area.

      I was due to travel to Morocco at the end of April, however my travelling companion has decided that they no longer want to travel due to the general feeling of unrest in North Africa, so I am now forced to go alone and they are losing their money. I feel secure that I can travel safely and that if anything should happen the FCO and my tour operator will look after me under the ATOL guidelines – something that Thomas Cook have an excellent record of doing.

      The Tunisians really do want to get people back on holiday and I am sure you will be welcomed and looked after by them, however this does have to be your decision and whilst this would not worry me personally, I cannot speak for everyone.

      Hope that this helps in some way.


    • julie says:

      hello pamela

      i have been reading the posts on here as. like you, we have now booked to go to Djerba, Tunisia. I was just wondering if you are going ahead with your Tunisia holiday or if you have changed your mind?


  6. Aaron Ludlow says:

    hi. i am flying to tunisia on 10th july but have recieved a phone call from a friend saying that he has heard over 150,000 flights have been cancelled to the country. do you know if this is true or not? if so what action can i take to getting my money back, if any? thanks

  7. Hi Aaron

    The first thing that you should do is contact your flight company, travel agent or airline to enquire whehter your flight is affected. Some tour operators have withdrawn their program for this summer while others are continuing to opeate as normal, so there have been flights cancelled.

    This is due to a sharp drop in demand following the political problems of January and February of this year. However the resorts are all open for business and the FCO has deemed it safe to travel to the country once again, although you should exert caution in areas where there are crowds and demonstrations. Fairly normal advice for many other countries to be fair.

    Once you know the position for your own flight you can then decide what you wish to do. If the flight is actually going ahead it is unlikely you will be able to get anything back on the trip as it will be treated as a normal cancellation. If it has been cancelled you will be offered either a refund or alternatives.

    Please let us know how you go on.



  8. julie says:

    hi there

    I was just wondering what your opinion is on taking a holiday in Djerba in July 2011 given the situations which have taken place in Tunisia and Libya. I feel more concerned about the Libyan aspect. The prices are so low at the moment it seems like an opportunity not to miss but they always say ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. I would hate to put my family in danger.

    • Hi Julie

      Apologies for the delay in replying.

      I would have no problems personally in travelling to Tunisia on a holiday at the moment. However it is a personal decision that you must make and some people will have a variety of reasons why they would not go.

      Many tour operators have resumed operations to the country and new flights to Djerba are operating to this stunning island.

      The FCO advice as I write is that it is safe to travel to the country, however you must not travel within 40km of the Libyan border. Djerba is further away than this and is a holiday destination as opposed to a major town or settlement. For the latest info use this link as it can change. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/tunisia

      I would travel with a major tour operator such as Thomas Cook who have an excellent reputation should anything happen while you were away and the situation should change. If they felt it was not safe or the FCO asked them to stop operating you would receive first class help and assistance.

      The Tunisians are desperate for holidaymakers to return as their livelihoods depend so much on us and you will get a warm welcome, plus have the chance to buy a bargain price break.

      Do bear in mind that in July it will be very hot with temperatures 90+, so be aware of that when making your decision. However you can enjoy unspoilt beaches of golden sand and lovely warm seas.

      Whatever you do, i hhope you have a good break.

      • julie says:

        Thank you for your reply. We are actually looking at a holiday through Thomson/First Choice. Is their reputation of sorting out any problems that may possibly occur in Tunisia as good as Thomas Cook would you say?


        • Hi Julie

          Thomson/First Choice are superb in these kind of situations. They are the market leader in the UK for package holidays and you will have no problems at all with them.

          Have a great trip.


          • david fraser says:

            going to mahdia tunisia is it safe hoe many miles to libia

          • Hi David

            Mahdia is deemed to be within a safe area of Tunisia for travellers as per the current advice on the FCO Travel Advice website;


            You are a significant distance from the border with Libya being around 250 miles away and nearly 200 miles from Algeria, so no need to be concerned around that.

            Hope you have a great trip.

            Kind regards


  9. Cheryl Clarke says:

    Hi i am travelling to Djerba in 2 weeks and i am really concerned about all the unrest in Libya. I have spoken to Thomas Cook and they have confirmed this is not affecting Tunisia. Do you think i should cancel?

    • Bob Atkinson says:

      Hi Cheryl

      As things stand today it is a matter of personal choice if you wish to cancel your holiday. If you did you would face cancellation charges of up to 100% which you cannot claim for under travel insurance cancellation procedures.

      The FCO advice is that it is safe to travel at present and if this advice should change, Thomas Cook would immediately cancel all trips and bring people home already in resort. They are very responsible when it comes to customer safety.

      The island of Djerba is off the cosast of Tunisia towards the eastern border with Libya. When the troubles started earlier this year Libyans crossed the border into Tunisia, however in recent days Libyans have benn returning from their refugee camps as they sense that things are changing at home in their favour.

      My gut is that you will be able to holiday with no problem at all and I would be prepared to carry on with no concerns.

      Keep and eye on the FCO travel advice for Tunisia and in touch with the news and your tour operator.

      I am sure you will have a great break, the Tunisians are desperate for business and will be very welcoming.



  10. susan frank says:

    can you please tell me can I book a holiday in tunsia will I be safe in sep 2012

  11. hi,
    would it be safe to travel in may do you think as i have a holiday booked for then.

  12. hi,
    would it be safe to travel in may do you think as i have a holiday booked for then. we are going to hammement and we just want to be safe when we travel.
    thanks lee

  13. Hi would it be safe to travel to tunisia,sousse in april as i have a holiday booked for then with thomas cook. Thanks from lippy

    • Hi there lippy

      The beach resorts are far away from the capital Tunis where the events of this week took place. There are no specific comments on the FCO Travel Advice for Tunisia https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tunisia about Sousse or the immediate area and so only the general information for the country should be observed.

      In my experience the beach reosrts are perfectly safe for a holidaya dn as a responsible travel operator Thomas Cook will work using the FCO advice as their base guidance for holidays continuing.

      I’m sure that as the situation stands today you will have a fantastic holiday there and the locals will welcome you to their wonderful country.

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards


  14. Jennifer Geraty says:

    my daughter is due to travel to hammamet on 5th Apri she is 8years old and travelling with her auntie and uncle, Thomas Cook will not change the holiday is it safe for her to go.

    Many thanks


    • Hi there

      The beach resorts are miles away from the events in Tunis of last week. The FCO Travel advice site for Tunisia carries no warnings for Tunisia for the resorts;


      As the situation stands today Thomas Cook are correct in that they will netiher change or cancel the holiday without applying the normal fees as per the booking conditions. This situation would only change if the FCO started saying that travel to these areas was not advisable.

      In my experience your daughter will enjoy a safe and wonderful holiday in Tunisia. The locals who rely on this industry are very welcoming and are very appreciative of us visiting their country for our breaks.

      I am sure that unless the situation changes otherwise you can rest easy and they can enjoy their break.

      Kind regards


  15. Rob Parker says:

    I aM a British citizen and have lived in Tunisia for the last 5 years and I have no safety worries at all. We travel to Hammamet and Tunis regularly and feel safer there than in some cities in the UK.

  16. Alice says:

    Hi, I was reading your blog because my boyfriend and I booked to go to Djerba in August (before the attack in Tunis happened) and now I am worried if it will really be safe or not, due to the proximity to the border with Libya and the potential Isis presence within the border area. Do you have any advise or thoughts on this?

  17. Jaggy Thistle says:

    Due to go to Djerba in July to visit all the Star Wars destinations – are these safe and is Djerba safe? Worried as it’s considerably closer to Libya than the mainland tourist resorts.

    • Hi there

      The advice we always go by is the FCO Travel Advice for Tunisia; https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tunisia

      Currently Djerba has no problems with visiting as a tourist, however some areas of the country are deemed off limits to tourists and these include some of the locations used for filming such as Tozeur. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Wars_filming_locations

      Any organised trip to see locations should be fine, especially if organised by a British Tour operator, howevr do approach such as trip with caution to ensure the places you are going to are approved within the FCO guidelines otherwise your travel insurance will be voided.

      Kind regards


      • Jaggy Thistle says:

        Thank you, I’m thinking of just staying in the hotel and not venturing out – better safe than sorry.
        It’s such a shame these are now in a no go area as it’s a beautiful country and we wanted to share Tatooine with our children before its swallowed by the desert – maybe in the future then :(

        • Hi

          Do check when you get there and ensure you also take note of the FCo travel advice. The beach resort areas and some of the locations near to the beach reosrts are fine, some are off limits according to the FCO. You may still be able to do some excursions.

          Have a great break.


  18. Gary Hesslewood says:

    Hi there, I would like to know when I will be told if I can’t go onto my hoilday in Tunisia Next week if I can’t will I not get a full refund? It’s not really fair if that was the case some people don’t have much money. Hoildays are very pricey and some other countries are offering diffrent deals so why is this one diffrent? I mean of course I don’t want to risk my life out there no hoilday is worth that. Hope to hear from you soon as possible with recent news and updates. Thanks Gary

  19. Sandra Auker says:

    Im traveling to hamamet on the 17 of july 2015 with thomas cook theres 3 adults & 3 children. I really dont want to go would i be able to cancel & have a holiday somewhere else

    • Hi Sandra

      I have checked the Thomas Cook website and at this stage they are offering to amend your booking to Tunisia free of charge, although any difference in holiday cost would be paid by you.

      http://www.thomascook.com/travel-updates/#Tunisia Incident

      May advice is to contact Thomas Cook and explore your options with them as soon as possible. Either visit a Thomas Cook shop or contact 01733 224536. The lines will probably be very busy so you may need to be patient in speaking to them.

      Hope that this helps.

      Kind regards


  20. Are you MAD? Have you not been watching the news the week.

    Tunisia and Egypt have overthrown their dictators and ISIS are running amok. I wouldn’t wanna risk visiting them just now.

    Honestly if you wanna go on holiday go anywhere except North Africa. If you must visit the med wait till it hots up a bit and try Spain or Italy or something.

  21. Was in Sousse 21/6/15 for fornights holiday , returned under advise from tour operator sat 27/6 shipped out from hotel with only 20 mins notice told further attacks where possible.

    Travel Insurance doesnt cover terrorism and been told Jet2 won’t pay any compensation for 10 days holiday missed.

    If you still to go on holiday you have rights if you where there during attacks and lived thro the chaos you have none ??????

    Doesnt seem right ????

    • Hi Paul

      I am glad you are home safe, it must have been a very worrying time for you.

      Jet2’s booking conditions do exclude these kinds of events as being outside of their control from compensation, however I would be tempted to write into them with an account of what happened and making a reasonable request for your situation to be considered. You can find out how to do that on this page;


      I assume that you were given the choice to stay or to return early rather than to continue in resort for the full holiday you have booked. I do recognise you may have had to make that decision very quickly which is not easy to do.

      You should also contact your travel insurer to see if you can make a claim under a clause such as holiday abandonment or curtailment. You should do this within 28 days of returning to the UK and some policies will indeed pay out for your lost holiday.

      Let me know how you go on.

      Kind regards


  22. Helen says:

    Due to fly to Djerba end of July wondered how it has been affected by the terrible tragedy

    • Hi Helen

      Djerba is an island towards the south of the country and is well away from Sousse, the area affected last Friday.

      The FCO travel advice does not mention Djerba at all as an area with any issues, therefore you should just be aware of the general advice for Tunisia which you can find here;


      Do keep an eye on the news and the FCO site for updates before you travel.

      Kind regards


  23. Sarah says:

    I am suppose to be travelling to Tunisia on the 22nd July and staying in Sousse. When I have contacted my travel agents about the tragic event that happened on friday, they have advised me that Tunisia could possibly be one of the safest places to go now due to increasing security. Is this true?
    We are a family of four and although events like this could happen anywhere, we would rather be safe than sorry. What are your thoughts? We are looking to go to Spain if we change our holiday, however they are also high risk.


    • Hi Sarah

      I do understand how you can feel and it must be very worrying for you and your family.

      The only advice we can go on is the FCO travel advice and that from people who have been out there. The media reports do tend to sensationalise any situation like this and so it can be easy to get a warped view of the situation.

      The FCO travel advice for Tunisia is here;


      and is updated regularly.

      It is a very personal decision whether to go anywhere in the world. I have the viewpoint of being adventurous and outgoing in my travel experiences and I would not personally be worried about travelling to Tunisia, Greece or Spain at the moment. I ensure I am informed as to the current situation in any country, I always have a good travel insurance policy and I keep in touch with the news. I have travelled to Madrid only this last weekend which was the site of bomb explosions a number of years back, regularly travel to London, was in New York recently and Sydney, all of which have had serious terrorist attacks. I am off to Paris soon too.

      Currently I understand you will have to pay any difference in holiday cost and if changing the holiday makes you feel more comfortable then you should do that. However I do know that the Tunisians have added a seriously large amount of security to the area and the locals are incredibly welcoming of tourists, an industry they rely on for their livelihood.

      I hope my reply has helped you in some way.

      Kind regards


      • Sarah says:

        Hi Bob,
        Thanks your fast reply! We have discussed it as a family and have decided that we are going to go to Tunisia.
        Thanks for your advise and help with this.

        Best wishes,


  24. I think it’s pretty clear that whoever want’s to spend vacations on a Islamic country is playing Russian roulette.
    Its not guaranteed that something will happen but the risk is high.
    It’s up each one of us to analyse the risk and decide upon that. If I had family traveling with me, I would never, ever risk it. By myself, probably, it would depend on the destination.
    Like Thailand, Tunisia is going to be blacklisted for many tourists since there are other cheap and much more safer places to spend holidays like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, France,… take a pick.

  25. Robert says:

    Considering the number of countries in the world, it seems crazy to intentionally go to countries where there is a higher than usual chance of attacks, especially for those with families. We’ve see enough of the horrors on the news, I can’t see ‘any’ justification for putting you or you family at heightened risk

    I don’t think just repeating check the FCO travel advice is enough either, by the nature of the beast attacks happen where you aren’t expecting them not just areas on the radar


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