Travel firms rally to help Tunisia holidaymakers

Sousse, Tunisia
Sousse, Tunisia

Kirkcaldy travel agents have rallied to help scores of holidaymakers left in limbo by the recent terrorist tragedy in Tunisia.

It has now been confirmed that 38 people died, the majority of them British, after lone gunman Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on sunbathing tourists in Sousse on Friday.

Ramsay World Travel quickly contacted all existing customers with Tunisia bookings and reported they were overwhelmed with requests for cancellations.

“It was manic in here on the Saturday,” said a spokesman, “but it meant the issue had been dealt with and all these folks can relax now.”

The Kirkcaldy branch confirmed none of its customers had been caught up in the incident but, this week, the branch arranged alternative flights to bring back two parties who wished to cut their holiday short.

In a statement released two days ago, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued warnings to travellers.

It said: “Further terrorist attacks are likely, including in tourist resorts, and by individuals unknown to the authorities, whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media.”

Thomson, which has so far brought 4000 holidaymakers back to the UK, confirmed it would be extending free cancellation of Tunisia holidays until July 9.

A spokesman said: “Customers travelling to Tunisia in this period will be given the opportunity to amend their holiday free of charge to any of our destinations or receive a full refund.

“Furthermore, customers planning to travel to Tunisia at any time up until the end of the summer season (October 31) period will be able to amend their holidays free of charge to any of our destinations.”

Free cancellation at Thomas Cook applies to holidays booked to travel up until July 12, with free amendments to alternative destinations for holidays up to October 31.

A spokesman added: “We have added capacity in four other popular summer destinations including Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, and Turkey to respond to increased demand.”

The Tunisian tourist industry is estimated to lose around £330 million as a result of last week’s tragedy.

A spokesman from Ramsay World Travel said: “It’s usually a year or two before confidence builds up. The tour companies are still going there which shows, if nothing else, they are not giving up on it.”

Gordon Reid at Charlie Reid Travel added: “Look at America after 9/11. Nobody went to New York for a while after that – now it’s one of the biggest city bookings going.

“The immediate reaction is to stay away but time is a great healer.”