Tui UK & Ireland has reintroduced Tunisia for summer 2018, with departures available from May.

The operator put a small programme to Hammamet on sale today (Thursday), offering four flights a week from Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick to Enfidha.

Tui has not offered a Tunisia programme since a terrorist gunman opened fire on tourists at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the resort of Sousse in 2015, killing 30 British holidaymakers, all of whom were Tui customers.

The British Foreign Office (FCO) subsequently advised against all travel to Tunisia, halting UK tour operator programmes.

The ban was lifted in July 2017 and a number of operators, including Tui rival Thomas Cook, announced programmes for winter 2018, starting in February.

Tui reintroduced the destination for German customers in November 2016. German authorities did not put the same restrictions on travel to Tunisia as the British had.

Tui UK & Ireland’s programme starts on May 1 and features just three hotels – all from its Concept Hotel portfolio. These are a Magic Life hotel, with sports facilities, a Splashworld property featuring waterparks and a Platinum hotel.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, UK distribution and cruise director Helen Caron stressed the new programme was small and would carry fewer than 20,000 passengers to Tunisia this summer.

This compares to over 100,000 at its peak with the move intended to assess customer demand for the destination.

She added there was no scope to add more seats this summer, but the programme would give Tui a good idea of the capacity it should allocate for winter 2018-19.

Caron said: “Customers from our other source markets have been travelling back to Tunisia for a while. We believe we have customers in the UK who want to go back, so we are just putting on a small programme to test the interest. It will not be marketed.”

‎A Tui UK & Ireland spokesperson added: “We follow the FCO advice for all destinations we operate to as well as referencing the FCO Travel Aware campaign across our website, customer documentation and in our stores and encourage everyone to check the FCO website regularly for the latest travel information.”

In 2014, 440,000 British tourists visited Tunisia, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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