British death toll in Tunisia hotel attack to hit 30

British death toll in Tunisia hotel attack to hit 30

The number of British holidaymakers killed in the Tunisian beach massacre is expected to rise to more than 30, according to reports this morning.

A total of 38 people died in the attack and 36 injured when a man with links to the Islamic State group opened fire at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse.

Security was being stepped up across the UK amid fears of a similar jihadist attack while the Foreign and Commonwealth office warned that further terrorist attacks in Tunisia were possible.

Thomson and First Choice laid on 12 flights to bring Britons home from Tunisia while Jet2holidays deployed three aircraft on Saturday. Thomas Cook laid on two extra flights on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Some 3,500 British tourists have flown home from Tunisia since Friday's attack.

Tui Group joint chief executive, Peter Long, was reported as being “deeply, deeply shocked” by the atrocity.

“Our whole organisation is reeling with pain to see the suffering that has taken place in Tunisia, the Mail on Sunday reported him as saying.

“The tragedy of the situation continues as we see families who have lost loved ones. Our heartfelt feelings go out towards them.”

Bereavement counsellors and trauma teams were sent to Sousse to assist the relatives of the dead and injured.

Thomas Cook said anyone due to travel to Tunisia on or before July 4 could either cancel or move their trip, while anyone flying between July 5 and July 31 could amend their bookings but would not be able to cancel without a fee.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 Britons are believed to have holidays booked in Tunisia in August alone.

A reinforced British embassy team was sent to Sousse to provide consular assistance to friends and relatives of the dead.

“If you are in the area you should keep in touch with your tour operator and follow any advice from Tunisian security authorities, the FCO said.

The FCO’s updated travel advice added: “Further terrorist attacked in Tunisia, including in tourist resorts, are possible, including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities and whose actions are inspired by terrorist groups via social media.

“You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator.”

Abta said: “The first priority is the welfare of holidaymakers in the hotels affected by this terrible incident and extra flights have been put on to help people return home.

“Holidaymakers elsewhere in Tunisia are advised to contact their tour operator and follow any instructions issued by local authorities.”

Thomas Cook UK managing director, Salman Syed, said anyone booked to travel to Tunisia until July 12 could cancel if they wished.

Anyone due to travel before October 31 could amend their trip, including changing to another country.

Some holidaymakers have criticised tour operators' response to the attack, but Syed told the BBC the company was doing its best in an "extraordinary" situation.

"We brought in additional staff immediately from Turkey and deployed them in our resorts. We have also deployed the maximum number of people we could over the weekend in our contact centres in the UK," he said.

Nadejda Popova, senior travel analyst at Euromonitor International, said: “Tourism is of vital importance for Tunisia and for the period 2013-2014 international arrivals to the country recorded 4% growth.

“This growth, however, is highly dependent on the safety and stability in Tunisia.

“The recent outbursts of violence represent major threat for the country, which can escalate the political instability and security issues in this destination and ultimately keep travellers from visiting the country short to medium term.

“The terrorist attacks can prolong the recovery process of the travel industry in Tunisia.

“That said, there is an internal commitment to boosting the industry and therefore the authorities are likely to react and do whatever is possible to avoid any further issues.”


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