Tunisian tourist board reassures trade following attackPosted: March 25, 2015
By Hollie-Rae Merrick | 25 March 2015 at 08.37 GMT
The Tunisian tourist board will meet with agents over the coming months as it looks to provide reassurances about travelling to the country in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack that claimed 23 lives.
Eighteen tourists were killed in the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, including 12 MSC Cruises passengers, among them Briton Sally Adey, and five Costa Cruises passengers.
The tourist board’s call for continued support came as several cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Costa and MSC, pulled Tunisia from itineraries.
The tourist board said Tunisia was still the perfect option for a beach holiday, with the resorts of Port El Kantaoui and Hammamet safe.
Sami Tounsi, trade manager for the Tunisian National Tourist Office, said 90% of bookings to the destination from the UK were made through the trade, so support from agents would be key.
“The UK is the second-largest European market to Tunisia and we’ve had steady growth year on year,” he said. “Last year was a record one, with 425,000 UK holidaymakers making it to Tunisia. This year we were expecting 460,000.”
Tounsi said the attack would affect Tunisia, but he hoped it would be only in the short term. “Tunisia must stay out of the news if it wants tourism to bounce back,” he added.
The tourist board said it planned to run roadshows to meet agents and to reassure them.
Michael Edwards, Intrepid Group UK and Europe regional director, said he believed “some tourists are going to think twice” about travelling to Tunisia following the incident.
Thomas Cook and Cosmos Holidays said normal booking conditions would remain unless Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice changed.
Thomson and First Choice have cancelled excursions to Tunis until the end of the month, but are monitoring the situation.
Red Sea Holidays, which is operating to Tunisia for the first time this year, reported no “dramatic” impact on sales.
Sourced from Travel Weekly