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UK tourism to Tunisia has been “wiped out” for 2016 after both Thomson and Thomas Cook cancelled all bookings to the country in the past week.
GfK figures show that up until the end of 2015, 26,000 UK customers had made bookings to Tunisia. Those who booked through Thomas Cook and
Thomson will be offered refunds and alternative destinations.
The move follows the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s continued advice against all but essential travel to the country.
Tunisia does not feature in Jet2holidays or Monarch’s summer 2016 programmes.
The first of three Highlights of Tunisia trips with Intrepid Travel is due to depart in April, but the operator said it will “monitor official advisories and information from the local team”.
Alan Bowen, legal adviser to the Association of Atol Companies, said tourism to Tunisia this summer had been “wiped out”, adding: “It is going to take strong action by the Tunisian government to see any major UK operator return and at the moment they are still in a state of emergency, which doesn’t look too good in the short to medium term.”
The Tunisian National Tourist Office said it was “optimistic” that “loyal” UK visitors would return in their thousands once the travel warning was lifted.
Last September, UK visitors were down 96% year on year to fewer than 2,000.
French, German and Italian governments have permitted travel back to some Tunisian areas.
Tarek Aouadi, director of the Tunisian National Tourist Office, said: “Unfortunately, travel companies have to plan in advance, by which time the situation could be completely different.
“Our priority remains the safety of our British guests and I want to thank the UK travel trade for its support.”
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