Operators are planning to resume flights to Tunisia after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changed its advice against travelling to large parts of the country, including the capital Tunis and beach resort Sousse.

The FCO no longer advises against travel to the north African country, “except for parts of the south and interior and certain areas near the borders with Algeria and Libya”.

Most of Tunisia has returned to the government’s ‘green’ colour code meaning people should seek advice before travel.

Other areas in the south and west of the country remain in either red, which advises against all travel, and orange, which advises against all but essential travel.

Thomson and First Choice said it would now look to re-introduce the destination.

A spokeswoman from parent company Tui said: “Thomson and First Choice follow the FCO’s advice for all destinations we operate to.

“As the overall level of advice has now changed for Tunisia, we will look at whether we will re-introduce the destination for future seasons, which will also take in to account customer demand.”

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We’re pleased that the Foreign Office has taken this decision to open Tunisia back up to Brits. It’s great for Tunisia, which used to welcome many thousands of British holidaymakers.

“We’ll take a bit of time to look at how and when we put this once-popular destination back on sale and we will update our customers when have any further news.”

Specialist Just Sunshine, which claims to be the largest independent operator to Tunisia, pledged an early return of holidays to the country.

National sales manager Tony Blakey said: “We are delighted that the British government has now relaxed restrictions on travel to this beautiful destination.

“We are already in discussions with our airline partners with a view to introducing flights as quickly as possible and as we are part of the El Mouradi group, which includes Tunisia’s largest hotel chain, we hope to be able to offer a wide selection of holidays to all the major resorts as soon as possible.

“We are committed to rebuilding tourism to Tunisia and will be working closely with the Tunisian National Tourist Office and all our partners to ensure that Tunisia once again becomes one of the UK’s most popular destinations.”

TNTO UK director Mounira Ben Cherifa said: “We are delighted to receive this news still in time for last minute summer holiday bookings and the winter season.”

“We will be communicating with all of our tour operators to see how quickly we can get airlift reinstated, meanwhile Tunis Air are flying daily from London Heathrow and Gatwick into Tunis.”

TNTO trade manager Sami Tounsi added: “We’re overwhelmed by this great news and it represents a great excuse for a big party in Tunisia.

“All I want to say is a big thank you to all travel agents for their strongest belief and support of Tunisia. This is down to a tremendous cooperation between the UK and Tunisian governments.”

The FCO still says there is a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation and will continue to implement additional security measures in the country.

A state of emergency is currently in effect in Tunisia which was imposed in November 2015 following a suicide attack on a police bus.

A terrorist attack at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse saw 39 people killed, including 30 British tourists.

In figures published by the Tunisia National Tourist office on Tuesday, it stated tourist levels were up 46.2% from January to May, compared to last year.

The total number of tourist arrivals in this period was 1,527,891, with 8,943 of these from Britain.

An Abta spokesman said: “This change in level of travel advice means that travel to Tunisia can now resume and travel companies can put in place plans for holidays to Tunisia to restart, should they wish to do so.

“The FCO advice states that ‘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’.

“Abta and its members rely on the informed expertise of the FCO in relation to travel advice regarding specific destinations and will always advise the travelling public to follow this advice.

“Holidaymakers should always check this advice before booking or travelling to a destination.”


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