herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Tunisia travel advice being 'urgently reviewed' as tourists flee

terror

THE Irish Government is urgently reviewing its travel advice for Tunisia as thousands of British holidaymakers flee the country.

At the moment the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising travellers to "exercise extreme caution".

"While the Tunisian authorities have declared this incident to be over, we urge you to remain vigilant and to follow any instructions given by the police, tour operators, and hotel staff," the advice reads.

Following the beach massacre on June 26, when fanatic Seifeddine Rezgui gunned down 38 people, including three Irish victims, the department has advised against visiting certain areas.

South Tunisia, a national park and a number of border areas are on the banned list.

However, last night the department said it was urgently reviewing if this warning needed to be upgraded following new British intelligence.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned against all but essential travel there following intelligence that a terrorist attack is "highly likely".

They do not believe that measures taken in the aftermath of the beach terror attack are enough to protect holidaymakers there.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the BBC that no threat was imminent, but that they still believed that a future threat was highly likely.

Holiday operators in the UK have pulled flights to the north African country.

Extra flights have been chartered to help tourists there return to the UK and staff who work for the companies will also be removed as a precautionary measure.

Irish holiday companies Sunway, the biggest provider of flights to Tunisia, and Just Sunshine suspended their flights to the country.

If a travel ban is introduced by the department then travel insurance companies will not cover holiday operators to fly tourists there.

Risk

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan this week said the EU needs to strengthen Tunisia's democracy and security to ensure that Irish citizens are not at risk from further terrorism.

"IS is trying to undermine the emergence of a pluralistic society in Tunisia, and by killing tourists, to undermine Tunisia," he said.

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