Tunisia Travel: Will the FCO change their advise?

Special Report: Will the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) change their advised against all but essential travel?

 

Quick Answer:  The FCO has not indicated any intention to change its advice for the country.


 The deaths of 30 Britons in Tunisia two years ago has shone a spotlight on the industry’s role in advising and protecting customers.  




The question is:  
What has the travel industry learnt from Tunisia tragedy?


As the families begin civil proceedings against Tui after last week’s inquest delivered a verdict of unlawful killing, questions are being raised over what responsibility the industry has for safeguarding customers.

The coroner has asked for recommendations from the victims’ families, Tui and the government to see if anything can be learned to avert future deaths.

Impact

Travel companies have already begun to implement changes, while the FCO is due to update the way in which terrorism threats are described and improve how it communicates advice online.

Tui now includes links to FCO advice on every web page throughout the booking process, while staff have undergone extra training. FCO information cards are also displayed on agents’ desks.

Thomas Cook said it too had “come a long way” in the past two years, introducing similar changes on its website and training staff to direct customers to FCO advice.

A spokesman said: “We know we’ve got more to do, particularly in our shops, and customers will see more changes in the next few months to improve access to the information they need.”


The Security Situation in Tunisia has Improved…but challenges remain.

Tunisian tourism represents 7 percent of GDP and employs 400,000 people.


Tunisia Security Improvements

Since the attacks, Tunisian authorities have ramped up security procedures. Under a UK government scheme, a team of police officers from the National Counter Terrorism Police has been deployed to upgrade security at airports, hotels and tourist spots.



Visiting Tunisia ?  Stay Informed! 



The Tunisian National Tourist Office said CCTV, metal detectors and scanners, as well as 24-hour police patrols around hotels, had also been introduced.

Borders with Algeria and Libya have been tightened, and a list of extremist nationals fighting abroad compiled. According to the Tunisian foreign minister, 22,000 people entered the country illegally in 2011; in 2016, it was 1,000.

FCO Travel Advise

Mounira Derbel Ben Cherifa, director of the Tunisian tourism office in London, said: “The impact on the livelihood of almost a million people is hard, especially those who run local businesses such as restaurants, bars, taxis, excursions.”

He said French and German tourists were visiting in their thousands after travel advice was relaxed, while Belgium changed its advice last month, allowing Thomas Cook to schedule charter flights from April 8.

The FCO has not indicated any intention to change its advice for the country.



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