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Should I travel to Tunisia?
Following a terrorist attack in Tunis on March 18, many holidaymakers will be nervous about travelling to this popular sunshine destination, wondering whether it’s safe.
Current Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice talks about being vigilant in the city, being sure to follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and tour operators. However, with the exception of cruise lines cancelling calls to Tunis and certain tour operators cancelling day trips to Tunis from the beach resorts, it’s business as usual.
There are some restrictions on travel to the country for British nationals (these restrictions are inland around the borders with Algeria and Libya, and well away from the tourist beach resorts), but these restrictions are not new and have been in place for a sustained period. 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 do so?
Is it still safe to travel to Tunisia?
It’s important to remember that the popular beach resorts including Hammamet, Sousse, Skanes and Port El Kantaoui are miles away from Tunis and there are no FCO warnings in place for any of the beach resorts.
There are no warnings against travel to Tunis, either – just advice as outlined above.
As with any holiday you’re looking to book, ensure your trip is covered 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 enjoying an ATOL-protected holiday when the FCO advised that British nationals should 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 at present, and while some may amend itineraries if they involve trips to the capital, the vast majority of holidays to the country are unaffected.
Before you make any decisions, refer to your company’s booking conditions as you will have to pay cancellation and change fees as appropriate.
It is highly unlikely that any company will amend your booking free of charge while travel to the country’s beach resorts and capital is deemed to be safe by the FCO.
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. However, normal cancellation and amendment fees will be incurred should you wish to move destinations, dates or just cancel.
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 tickets. 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 any 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 never normally successful either.
What if I travel to parts of Tunisia against the advice?
If you decide to visit areas which are advised against, you will find that your insurance cover is invalid from all companies.
Please note: All details were correct at the time of writing.