The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) lifted advice against travel to parts of Tunisia, including Tunis and some popular tourist resort areas, in July 2017. Since then, many Brits have once again been taking advantage of Tunisian sunshine and great holiday deals.
A twin suicide bombing in Tunis on 27 June targeted security personnel, killing one person (a police officer) and injuring eight – it’s a harsh reminder that Tunisia’s troubles are not yet over.
France24 reports that Tunisian authorities have “sought to reassure tourists” and quoted Tourism Minister telling travellers to “Have a good holiday and come to Tunisia. Tunisia is a country that fights these terrorists.”
Safety In Tunisia
Security has been stepped up in recent years, particularly around resorts and hotels, and travel ads seldom mention terrorism. A state of emergency has been in place throughout Tunisia for much of this time since 2015’s Sousse beach shooting, and there’s a strong police presence.
The risk of terrorism is still considered high – the FCO lists it as “very likely” and notes that, “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.”
There have been a number of attacks prior to the 27 June suicide bombings. Some have made the news, but they’re soon forgotten. These attacks have included:
- 9 October 2018 – Bombing in central Tunis, 15 security personnel and 5 civilians injured
- 8 July 2018 – Militants attacked security forces close to the Algerian border. A number of Tunisian National Guard officers were killed.
- 31 March 2018 – Knife attack in El Kef, 2 Western tourists seriously injured.
- 1 November 2017 – Knife attack in central Tunis, 1 police officer killed and 1 injured.
- 11 May 2016 – Suicide bomb in southern Tunisia – 4 killed.
- 11 May 2016 – Armed clashes between terrorists and security forces in Tunis.
- March 2016 – Attempted attacks close to the Libyan border; over 60 fatalities – majority were terrorists but members of the security forces and civilians were also killed.
- 24 November 2015 – Suicide attack on police bus in Tunis, 12 killed.
- 26 June 2015 – Sousse beach attack – 38 foreign tourists killed, including 30 British nationals.
- 18 March 2015 – Bardo Museum attack, 21 tourists were killed.
A growing number of Brits are choosing to visit Tunisia since travel resumed, and at the end of the day everyone should use the information available and decide for themselves.
Many recognise that we’re more likely to be affected indirectly by terrorism than directly, and have chosen a cost-effective Safe Journey top-up for comprehensive terrorism cover.
This is terrorism travel insurance, which includes disinclination to travel. That means you have the option to cancel if there’s an act of terrorism within 40 miles of your destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure – read our Policy Wording for full Ts+Cs. Please note that if you purchase a Safe Journey policy today, you can’t make any claims relating to the 27 June attacks (or any other events which have already taken place.)
For optimum peace of mind, it’s always a good idea to purchase your travel insurance when you book your trip. That way you can enjoy all the brilliant deals and savings, but also rest assured that you have financial protection in place according to your policy all the way through until your holiday.
What are people saying in Tunisia?
Al-Jazeera spoke to journalists and residents, as well as police officers, following the 27 June attacks.
A journalist noted that one of Thursday’s blasts took place near the French Embassy but authorities suggested this was a coincidence and unrelated. A political analyst said that the blast had been relatively small, and the city had remained relatively calm. The blasts did show similarities to the October 2018 attack.
The FCO has told travellers to remain vigilant if they’re in Tunis; “Keep up to date with developments and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.”
Remember that there is still advice against travel (or against all but essential travel) to large parts of Tunisia – these include areas near the borders with Libya and Algeria, towns including Jendouba, and the Chaambi Mountains National Park. Visit the FCO’s website for a full list.
Elections are scheduled to take place in October and November 2019 and travellers should check these dates before booking. Elections can often cause an increase in demonstrations and general unrest, as well as terrorism.