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Trouble in Tunisia – Travel Advice
Following last week’s change in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice to Tunisia, there has been extensive media coverage of holiday makers returning from this North African country.
The official line was changed to advise against all but essential travel to the country, causing tour operators to halt operations to the resorts and to bring customers home. The situation is fast moving and ever changing, so it is important to keep in touch with the situation. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is always up to date with the latest news – click here
But what should you do if you have a holiday or trip booked to Tunisia? Follow our advice.
I have a package holiday booked to Tunisia travelling in the next few days. Can I change or cancel my booking?
You will need to speak to your tour operator. The major companies Thomson and First Choice, along with Thomas Cook have already cancelled departures for yesterday and this coming Wednesday. Customers will be offered a full refund, a transfer to a holiday in Tunisia at a later date or to travel to another destination on a holiday of a similar value. These conditions are due to the booking conditions that you make your booking under, governed by ATOL and ABTA.
For holidays beyond Wednesday, each tour operator is monitoring the situation, however while the FCO advice remains in place there will be no departures.
Any customers still in the country should contact their tour operator via the appropriate website for assistance in returning to the UK.
I have a package booking for later this year, but don’t want to go now. What can I do?
You will need to speak to your tour operator; however it is likely that normal cancellation and amendment fees will be incurred until it is known that the dates you are travelling are affected by the domestic troubles in the country.
I have made independent arrangements to travel to the country? Do I have any rights?
If you choose not to travel, based on the current advice, then any refunds or changes will be down to the policy of the individual airline, hotel company or other such travel provider. For example, British Airways is currently only offering a change in date of up to a few days or a transfer to another destination, not a refund. Tunisair is not offering any such leeway.
If you cancel your trip you are likely to face losses from travel companies if they are not offering a free cancellation. If you are facing losses, try and negotiate a credit note or transfer to a later date when the troubles have settled down, rather than lose your money. You will be unable generally to transfer your booking to any other person.
Can I claim for any losses from an insurer?
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim from any insurer for any losses. This is because many have a clause that prevents claims due to civil unrest, revolutions or other such situations.
Contact your insurer to speak about the possibility of any claim.
What if I continue to travel regardless of the advice?
If you decide to travel independently, despite the advice, then you will find that your insurance cover is invalid from many insurers, so ensure you check this before you travel.
Whilst non essential travel is advised against, ensure that you register with the FCO Locate scheme
This will ensure that the British Consulate is aware you are in the country and can contact you should troubles escalate and an official evacuation of British Nationals be required.