‘Huge boost’ for Tunisia as UK further relaxes travel restrictions

A further relaxing of UK travel restrictions to Tunisia has been hailed as “huge boost of confidence” in the north African country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office last week announced that more areas in Tunisia are now open to British tourists.

The FCO no longer advises “against all but essential travel to the town of Jendouba, and some areas of southern Tunisia, including the towns of Médenine, Tataouine and Douz”.

Jedouba is a small city in the north west of Tunisia close to the ancient Roman city of Bullaregia. It was an important town during the Roman Empire.

Both Médenine and Tataouine have links to Star Wars films.

Médenine featured twice in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace while Tataouine inspired the name of Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine.

Tunisian National Tourist Office director Wahida Jaiet said: “The change in the FCO travel advice will give a huge boost to confidence in Tunisia. 2018 is the year to rebuild faith and trust in Tunisia.”

However, the FCO now advises against all but essential travel to the Biq region (west of Ghardimaou) in Jendouba governorate.

The FCO continues to advise against all travel to the Chaambi Mountains National Park and designated military operations zones of Mount Salloum, Mount Sammamma and Mount Mghila.

The same rules cover a militarised zone south of the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba; within 20km of the rest of the Libya border area north of Dhehiba; and the town of Ben Guerdane and immediate surrounding area.

“A state of emergency is in effect in Tunisia imposed after a suicide attack on a police bus on 24 November 2015,” the FCO said. “It’s been extended a number of times, most recently on 12 March 2018 by seven months.

“Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, which targeted tourists, the UK government has been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups. The Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts.

“But terrorists are still very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia, including against UK and Western interests. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other places.”

Thomas Cook resumed flights to Tunisia from Birmingham, Manchester and Gatwick in February, added Glasgow in April and will add Stansted and Newcastle last month.

Tui re-started flights in May to Hammamet from Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick and Manchester.

TunisianMonitorOnline (Travel Weekly)

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