Tour operators change Tunisia booking conditions

Tour operators change Tunisia booking conditions

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Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook have altered their booking conditions to allow holidaymakers booked to Tunisia this summer to switch to other destinations without penalty.

The two Tui Group operators also cancelled all departures to the North African country until July 9 amid growing outcry over Friday’s beach massacre.

Customers can receive a full refund or choose an alternative destination free of charge until the end of the summer season on October 31.

Thomas Cook is offering those booked to Tunisia up until July 12 the chance to cancel or amend their holiday free of charge.

Those with bookings to the country for the rest of the summer can switch to Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Turkey where the operator has added extra capacity.

Other operators are expected to follow suit, with Abta saying many member tour firms are giving people due to travel over the next week the opportunity to amend or cancel their Tunisia trips.

However, Abta added: “Beyond this date, the situation remains fluid. The Foreign Office has not advised against travel to the tourist resorts of Tunisia, and we would therefore advise those due to travel beyond the next week to wait for further information as phone lines are likely to be very busy.”

Thomson and First Choice are offering 15 flights from airports across the UK to other destinations such as the Balearic islands, mainland Spain and Cyprus.

Those booked to travel to Tunisia who choose one of the alternative destinations will also be offered a £50 per person discount.

At least 18 British holidaymakers have been confirmed dead in the terrorist attack but it is feared the death toll will rise to about 30. Four injured Britons were flown home by the RAF and others hurt in the attack at the resort near Sousse will also be repatriated.

Tour companies have laid on extra flights and about 10,000 British tourists have flown home from Tunisia since Friday, according to Abta.

Thomson said: “Owing to the unprecedented volume of calls experienced by our customer service centre we can currently only take calls from those who have holidays booked to Tunisia in July.

“For customers travelling between August and October please visit your local Thomson retail shop or call us from Monday 6th July.

“The whole of Thomson and First Choice are deeply shocked and truly saddened by the events and we are grateful to our staff on the ground and in the air and the emergency services who are working hard in an incredibly challenging environment.”

Around 4,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers in Tunisia have returned to the UK including 1,500 who wanted to return early on four special repatriation flights.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to support our customers who want to depart, and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” the company said.

“If there is further demand we will provide additional capacity to ensure all customers who would like to come back to the UK can do so safely and as soon as possible.”

As a minute’s silence was announced for Friday at noon, a week after the shootings, the bravery of Tunisian hotel workers caught up in the attack started emerging.

Spanish hotel chain Riu Hotels praised its staff at the Rui Imperial Marhaba Hotel and said: “We are especially proud of the reaction by the hotel employees in view of the terrorist attack. Their conduct was exemplary.”

The hotel group added in a statement: “We have no words to express our gratitude and deep respect for the employees of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel, especially our security service for their courage and professionalism. Their engagement and sense of responsibility managed to avoid the addition of further guests to the list of victims.”


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