Thomson criticised over Sousse deaths in BBC documentary

More could have been done to protect the lives of 38 tourists killed on a beach in Tunisia in 2015, according to a documentary aired before inquests into the deaths are due to begin next week.

BBC’s Panorama programme criticised tour operator Thomson for not hiring enough security staff at the Imperial Hotel in Sousse having spoken to guests who survived the June 26 massacre.

The attack took place three months after gunmen shot dead 22 people in Tunisia’s Bardo National Museum and was said to have been masterminded by the same man.

Thomson was also condemned for reducing the prices in the months between the two attacks and not offering refunds or transfers for concerned holidaymakers who had paid upwards of £2,000 for their holidays.

Other hotels, the documentary claimed, had reinforced their security following the Bardo attack.

Thomson customers claimed they were repeatedly told by the travel giant the destination was safe and would not be refunded if they cancelled their holiday.

Tunisian police were also heavily criticised in the documentary which claimed documents it had obtained proved the Sousse police chief deliberately delayed attending the scene because he was “afraid” and wanted more weapons.

Officers allegedly had more firepower than the gunman but did not stop him for 40 minutes as he used his Kalashnikov assault rifle to murder his victims, 30 of which were British.

The Foreign Office was also criticised for not advising Britons against travelling to Tunisia. In the three months after Bardo, 148,000 Brits travelled to the North African country.

Presenter  Jane Corbin said: “It should have been a wake-up call for the security forces and the tourism industry.”

Tui, Thomson’s parent company that has since pulled out of its partnership with the Imperial Hotel, said it was co-operating fully with the inquests, which are set to take place later this month.

In a statement, the firm said it was inappropriate to comment further ahead of the hearings but said it did not accept the accuracy of some of the statements made.

The Foreign Office said it would not comment on specifics ahead of the inquests.

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