UK tourists to return to Tunisia — minister

Comments come two-and-a-half years after attack on beach that killed 30 Britons

14:57 February 3, 2018

TUNIS: Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace on Friday praised efforts by Tunisia to boost security and said he expects a return of tourists from his country, two-and-a-half years after a terror attack on a beach in which 30 Britons were killed.

“It’s been really impressive what I’ve seen over the last few days,” Wallace told reporters in Tunis. “I look forward to the fact there’s gonna be lots more British people coming in the next few weeks.”

Wallace has been in Tunisia since Wednesday for talks with officials on the security situation.

In June 2015, a gunman killed 38 people, including 30 British tourists, in a shooting spree at a beach resort at Port Al Kantaoui near Sousse.

The attack, one of three that shook Tunisia that year, was claimed by Daesh group.

It prompted Britain to impose a warning against “all but essential travel” to Tunisia.

Last July, Britain lifted the travel warning for virtually all of Tunisia’s Mediterranean coastline following “security improvements” in the North African country.

However, it continues to advise against travel to southern Tunisia, along the border with Libya, and advises against all but essential travel along the western border with Algeria.

In August last year, British travel group Thomas Cook, one of the world’s biggest tour operators, said it would resume organising holidays to Tunisia.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said London’s decision to ease the travel ban “has had a positive impact”.

“God willing, the next season will see an influx of British tourists in Tunisia,” he said, speaking to reporters alongside Wallace.

Tunisia’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism.

Before the beach attack, more than 400,000 British tourists visited Tunisia annually. But in 2016, just 20,000 British visitors were recorded, official Tunisian figures show.