Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire
Wanted: A young couple have seen cheap Tunisia deals, but want an agent to give them some safety advice and bag them a good deal for two weeks this autumn.
Budget: £800-£1,000

Tui
248C Commercial Road
90%
There were a few gaps in the brochure display, but the shop was tidy. I was seated right away and a smart, enthusiastic agent joined me after finishing a call. I was advised to check Foreign Office advice for Tunisia, but she said the resorts Tui flies to are safe. She gave me quotes for two 14-night breaks – the first was with Tui flying from Gatwick on November 9, and staying all-inclusive at the Marco Polo Hotel in Hammamet for £1,143 including insurance. The second was with Tui’s all-inclusive brand First Choice, flying on Tui Airways on November 9 from Gatwick and staying at the Paradis Palace Hotel, Hammamet, for £1,023.

Thomas Cook
29 Cascades
83%
Window and brochure displays were good. I had to wait a couple of minutes to been seen, but when I was, the agent asked open-ended questions. They didn’t know a lot about Tunisia, but pointed me to the FCO website. I was offered two 14-night all-inclusive Thomas Cook packages in November with flights from Gatwick: the SunConnect One Resort in Monastir for £1,170, and Sentido Phenicia in Hammamet for £1,161.

Travelplanners
27A Marmion Road
65%
The shop was in a temporary location so would usually look more presentable. There were lots of brochures, but none for Tunisia. The agent advised against Tunisia and attempted to switch-sell me to Gambia, saying Tui was the only operator that sold Tunisia. I was then shown hotels on Tui’s website and bombarded with seven quotes for different Tui hotels, but they didn’t seem interested in selling me the holiday.


Winning agent

Grace Smith, travel advisor

“Even when Tunisia was off sale we had customers asking about it, and it’s picked up. We always direct customers to the government’s travel advice, it’s important it comes from them and not us.”


Verdict

Tui and Thomas Cook advised Mystery Shopper to seek Foreign Office advice before travelling and offered quotes, but Travelplanners was reluctant to sell Tunisia – or Tui.


Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location