Britain relaxes travel warning against Tunisia

Britain on Wednesday lifted its warning against “all but essential travel” to Tunisia, two years after a shooting spree by a jihadist attacker at a beach hotel in which 30 British tourists were killed.

“This update reflects our latest assessment that the risk to British nationals in Tunisia has changed,” Alistair Burt, junior foreign minister for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“This is in part due to the security improvements that the Tunisian authorities and tourist industry have made since the tragic terrorist attacks in 2015, with support from the UK and international partners.”

While Britain revised its travel advice for virtually all of Tunisia’s Mediterranean coastline, it continues to warn against all or all but essential travel to southern and western regions.

These areas are mostly on Tunisia’s borders with Libya and Algeria, where Tunisian authorities have been fighting smugglers and Islamist militants.

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people, including 30 British tourists and three Irish citizens, in a shooting spree in June 2015 at the Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel on the coast in Sousse, Tunisia.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.

A British inquest criticised the Tunisian police response to the massacre as “at best shambolic, at worst cowardly”.

Tunisia’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism and authorities have repeatedly asked for the warning to be lifted.

Before the beach attack, more than 400 000 British tourists visited Tunisia annually.

But last year just 20 000 British visitors were recorded, official Tunisian figures show.

 

 

AFP

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