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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.
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.