Over 300 cancel trips to Tunisia

Tunisia: A German tour operator said more than 300 customers who had planned to travel to Tunisia this summer called asking to change their bookings, most of them seeking to change destinations.

Also read: Death toll rises to 39 in Tunisia attack

Covered bodies of victims of a mass-shooting are seen in the resort town of Sousse, a popular tourist destination 140 kilometres south of the Tunisian capital, following the attack on June 26. Pic/AFP
Covered bodies of victims of a mass-shooting are seen in the resort town of Sousse, a popular tourist destination 140 kilometres south of the Tunisian capital, following the attack on June 26. Pic/AFP

TUI said Saturday that other vacationers want to stick to their plans, but didn’t give numbers. It said it brought home the first 80 customers from Tunisia on Friday night and another 120 will follow over the weekend — although some of those had been booked to return now anyway.

TUI on Friday offered free cancellations and rebookings for customers who had booked vacations in Tunisia through September 15. It said it had also cancelled planned excursions in Tunisia for the next three days as a precaution. A scattering of foreign tourists were spotted waded in the sea on the beach in front of the hotel in Tunisia where a gunman killed 38 people before he was killed by police.

Police boats patrolled the waters on Saturday while police on horseback rode the beach and some holidaymakers parasailed behind speedboats in the water. A German tourist laid flowers at the edge of the scene of Friday’s attack and shed tears for the victims.

While many tourists have left, Welsh couple Angela Chambers and Peter Phillips said they declined their tour operator’s offer to take them to the airport last night. “I think we feel safer here than going to the airport,” said Chambers. Phillips added that “we want to see our holiday out.”

The director of the Enfidha-Hammamet airport in Tunisia said it had set up special procedures to accommodate the flood of passengers seeking to leave the country after the terror attack that left 39 people dead, including the gunman. Mohamed Walid Ben Ghachem said about 15 extra flights have been scheduled at the airport since yesterday, with nine already leaving, carrying 1,400 passengers.

Also read: IS claims responsibility for Tunisian resort attack

He noted that four of the planes left empty, indicating that least 1,000 people had decided to stay on after the attack. The government of Ireland has confirmed that an Irish nurse, Lorna Carty, has been killed in the terrorist attack.

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