Thomson and First Choice plan to repatriate all customers from Tunisia within the next 48 hours following the declaration of a state of emergency in the country.


The repatriation plan was put in place before Tunisia president Ben Ali stepped down on Friday night amid unconfirmed reports he has fled the country.


 


The Tui Travel-owned tour operators flew 100 clients out of Monastir to Manchester on Friday evening and plan to bring the remaining 1,437 holidaymakers home on Sunday.


The companies have also cancelled all departures to Tunisia scheduled next Wednesday, January 19, on top of cancelling those due on Sunday.


Customers affected will be offered alternative holidays, the option to re-book or full refunds.


In a statement, Thomson and First Choice said: “We have been monitoring the situation continuously and reacted immediately to the deterioration in circumstances. We will now bring all customers back to the UK as quickly as possible.”


Thomas Cook aimed to repatriate all its 1,800 clients in Tunisia on Friday after the Foreign Office advised against all non-essential travel, and has cancelled all departures for the next few days.


Another 1,700 UK tourists are estimated to be in the country. The Foreign Office is advising people to exercise caution, follow the instructions of local officials and tour operators, and monitor the advice on the Foreign Office website – www.fco.gov.uk


At least 60 people have been reported dead in Tunisia after security forces fired on protestors demanding an end to the rule of President Ben Ali. The country’s main international airport outside Tunis is reported closed and surrounded by troops, and there is a nationwide curfew at night. However, no problems are reported in resorts.


Thomson and First Choice clients due to travel on Sunday or Wednesday are advised to call 0800 009 3834.