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Is Tunisia safe for British tourists? Holiday destination reopens as Thomas Cook resumes flights almost three years since terror atrocity

Mirror logo Mirror 13/02/2018 Julie Delahaye
Provided by Shutterstock © Shutterstock Provided by Shutterstock

Tunisia officially reopened for British tourists on Tuesday as Thomas Cook Airlines resumed flights to the resort of Enfidha.

It marks the first time that UK holidaymakers have returned to the once popular destination, nearly three years on since the terror attacks on tourists in 2015.

It was in June 2015 that terrorist gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, an Islamic State radical, stormed the popular beach resort of Sousse, opening fire on beachgoers at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel.

The gunman killed 38 people in the massacre, 30 of whom were British tourists, before being killed by security forces after an exchange of fire.

The Foreign Office immediately advised against all travel to Tunisia and holidaymakers were flown home.

Despite the FCO's ban on travel to the North African country, advice that some British tourists ignored and continued to visit during the following summer, travelling via France or Germany where no bans were in place.

However in July 2017 the Foreign Office lifted the travel ban, leading to major firms such as Thomas Cook and TUI reopening bookings to the holiday destination.

a group of lawn chairs sitting on a beach: Credits: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror

So it is safe to travel to Tunisia?

The Foreign Office has lifted a travel ban on the majority of Tunisia destinations, mainly along the coast where the beach resorts are located.

However, there are still parts of the country where the FCO advises against all but essential travel, as well as other destinations which are still under a travel ban.

  a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a sandy beach: Credits: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror

Although it is technically safe to travel to those beach resorts where the travel ban has lifted, the FCO warns that there is still a high risk of terrorism, and urges tourists to be vigilant.

The Tunisia travel advice adds: "Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, which targeted tourists, the UK government has been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups.

"The Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts.

a group of lawn chairs sitting on a beach: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe

"But terrorists are still very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other places.

"You should be vigilant at all times, including around religious sites and festivals. Follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company if you have one".

It's also worth checking your travel insurance covers you should you need to come home in an emergency - but if you book an ATOL protected holiday package, then it would be up to the tour operator to get you home anyway, at no extra cost.

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