Mar 25, 2015

Posted by in Destinations, Features, Travel News, Trip Advice | 26 Comments

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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.

Tunisia flag

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.

Carthage

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.

Djerba

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.

  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.

      Bob

  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.

      Bob

  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.

      Bob

    • 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?

      julie

  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.

    Regards

    Bob

  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?

        Julie

        • 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.

          Bob

  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.

      Enjoy

      Bob

  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

      Bob

  14. Jennifer Geraty says:

    Hi
    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

    jennifer

    • 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;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tunisia

      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

      Bob

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