Tour operators reacted to the updated FCO advice for Tunisia by cancelling programmes for the rest of the summer and started laying on rescue flights to bring holidaymakers home.
Abta says there will also be a number of holidaymakers who have travelled independently on top of the estimated 3,000 on holiday in Tunisia.
“Most travel companies have been allowing customers with holidays booked to Tunisia to cancel or amend their booking following the incident on 26 June so the numbers are significantly down for this time of year; although some have chosen to continue with their holidays,” Abta said.
“Holidaymakers in Tunisia are advised to contact their travel company to confirm arrangements for returning home. Those who have travelled independently are advised to follow Foreign Office advice and consider if it is essential to stay in Tunisia.”
People with holidays booked within the next 48 hours to Tunisia are being advised to contact their travel company to discuss available options.
“If you have booked a package you will be entitled to a refund or alternative holiday,” Abta said.
“If you are not travelling within the next 48 hours you will need to check with your travel company what your options are and follow their advice.
“Those people with bookings beyond the summer are advised to wait until closer to the departure date to contact their travel company as the situation is fluid.”
Abta warned that that travelling out to Tunisia at this time is likely to invalidate travel insurance policies.
“Most insurance policies will still provide cover for travellers in a country at the time of Foreign Office advice change,” it added.
Tui Travel said it had cancelled all outbound flights to Tunisia for the remainder of the summer season up to October 31 and would be bringing all its staff home following the update to the FCO advice.
A statement said: “Thomson and First Choice have no customers currently in Tunisia, but as a precautionary measure we have taken the decision to repatriate all British Thomson and First Choice staff currently working in Tunisia within the next 24 hours.”
The Thomson Airways cancelled flights are Djerba and Enfidha from Gatwick and Enfidha from Manchester.
Thomas Cook confirmed that all future bookings to Tunisia for the whole summer until October 31 had been cancelled following the upgraded FCO advice.
It also said that it will operate an extra repatriation flight today (Friday) to bring back holidaymakers from Tunisia.
The 326-seat capacity Boeing 767 is due to land in Manchester at 11.30am where onward transport is being organised.
“The safety and well-being of our customers is our primary concern,” the company said. “As always, we have been closely following the advice from the FCO and local authorities to monitor the situation in Tunisia.
“In response to the recent change in FCO advice we have taken this decision to bring all Thomas Cook customers back to the UK as soon as we can using third party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend.”
Monarch is organising four flights from Enfidha tomorrow (Friday), Saturday and Sunday.
“The airline is cancelling all flights to Enfidha for the rest of the summer season with immediate effect and all customers who have booked to travel there will receive a full refund or credit for their flight,” Monarch said. “Alternatively they will have the choice of a change of destination.”
EasyJet announced ahead of the latest FCO travel advisory that it is to cease operating flights between Stansted and Monastir due to a “significant reduction in demand” to the destination due to the recent tragedy.
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