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Birmingham to Tunisia holidays resume three years after terror attack

By Harry Leather | News | Published:

British tourists have returned to Tunisia on package holidays for the first time since the Sousse massacre three years ago.

Passengers boarding a Thomas Cook flight from Birmingham to Hammamet/Enfidha. Photo: Sophie Griffiths, Editor of Travel Trade Gazette

Travellers left Birmingham Airport on a Thomas Cook flight to Enfidha shortly after 6am this morning, on the first package tour to Tunisia since the Government eased its travel advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential visits to the North African country after 30 Britons - including three members of the same Black Country family - were killed in July 2015.

Left to right: Patrick Evans, Joel Richards and Adrian Evans all died in Tunisia

Joel Richards, aged 19, his uncle Adrian Evans, and grandfather Patrick Evans were all murdered at the resort, while Joel's younger brother Owen survived.

Having “carefully reviewed conditions” in the country – including the threat from terrorism and improvements in the Tunisian security forces – the Government changed its travel advice in August last year.

As a result Thomas Cook resumed Tunisian holiday sales to UK customers and flight MT1800 set off from Birmingham to Hammamet/Enfidha at 6.05am today.

The company did not stop selling trips to French, German and Belgian holidaymakers after the Sousse attack as their governments did not recommend that their citizens should not visit Tunisia.

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Police on the beach in Sousse in the wake of the 2015 terror attack

Some 440,000 people from the UK visited Tunisia in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Demand was reportedly even higher during the following year, until the Sousse attack, and numbers plummeted to the tens of thousands in 2017.

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Terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in which gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed a total of 38 tourists.

Among the dead was 44-year-old Sue Davey, who was originally from West Bromwich but later moved to Tamworth, as well as student and budding referee Joel, Sandwell Council worker Adrian and 78-year-old Patrick.

Earlier in 2015, former Black Country solicitor Sally Adey, who lived near Albrighton, was killed in an Islamic State attack at the Bardo Museum in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Harry Leather

By Harry Leather
Digital Journalist - @hleather_star

Digital journalist covering breaking news across the region from the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton.

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