Published on Friday, February 12, 2016
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has reportedly urged foreign tourists to return to Tunisia, claiming the country is now safe for holidaymakers.
Schulz said international authorities should visit Tunisia as soon as possible to inspect the latest security situation following last year's terrorist attacks, which included the massacre of 30 British holidaymakers in Sousse last June.
Schulz, who visited the hotel where 38 people were gunned down by a lone terrorist, gave an interview to a local radio station in which he said Tunisia had taken all necessary preventative security measures to ensure that holidays 'could be taken safely'.
However, Britain's Foreign Office is continuing to advise against all but essential travel to Tunisia and tour operator programmes remain suspended.
The Foreign Office has not changed its advice, issued last September, which says: "Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, we have been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups in Tunisia.
"Although we have had good co-operation from the Tunisian government, including putting in place additional security measures, the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.
"On balance, we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time."
By last September, Tunisia said it had lost a million tourists as a result of the terror attacks, which included the killing of 21 tourists, including cruise passengers, outside the Bardo museum in Tunis in March.
But Schulz said international authorities should 'show the world that terrorism could not be allowed to win'.
Earlier, the Tunisian Defence Minister, Farhat Hachani, announced that Tunisia has completed the first stage of a barrier stretching 125 miles along its border with Libya.
The barrier, which consists of water-filled trenches and sand banks, is designed to prevent the movement of militants across the border from Libya to Tunisia.
Since last year's terrorist attacks, the Tunisian government has been consulting with international experts, including those from the UK and Germany, and Hachani announced that European and US military trainers would be deployed to improve surveillance skills among Tunisian troops.
Additionally, different security measures have been put in place nationally, regionally and on an individual hotel basis, according to the national tourist office.
The state of emergency in Tunisia is due to be lifted on February 21, and Tarek Aouadi, the director of the Tunisia National Tourist Office in London, said he hoped there would be a positive response from the British Foreign Office.
However Thomson, whose clients were killed in the Sousse attack, has already cancelled its Tunisia programme at least until the end of October.
Unlike the British government, those of France, Germany and Italy have not advised against travel to Tunisia, and tourists from these countries continue to holiday there.
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.