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'I don't think Tunisia is ready': Suzy Evans speaks out as package holidays resume

By Richard Guttridge | Wednesbury | News | Published:

A mother who lost three members of her family in a terror attack in Tunisia has insisted she is ‘yet to be convinced’ it is a safer place as Thomas Cook resumed flights to the country.

From left Patrick Evans Joel Richards and Adrian Evans were killed in Tunisia in 2015

British holidaymakers were flown out to Tunisia yesterday for the first time since 38 people were slaughtered by an ISIS-inspired gunman in 2015.

Suzy Evans, from Wednesbury, who lost her son Joel, brother Adrian Evans and father Patrick Evans in the attack, said she was ‘surprised’ the airline had re-started flights to the north African nation when the terror threat was still considered to be high and urged tourists to get as much information as possible before heading there.

Three planes, each carrying 220 passengers, are flying to Enfidha this week after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office eased its travel advice.

The FCO had advised against all but essential visits following the beach and hotel attack in Sousse.

More on the Tunisia terror attack:

Terrified holidaymakers fled for their lives as Seifeddine Rezgui fired indiscriminately on the beach and followed into the hotel.

Seifeddine Rezgui

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Thirty Britons were killed, including talented football referee Joel, 19, his grandfather Patrick, 78, and uncle Adrian, 44, a Sandwell Council worker from Bilston.

The hotel where the three family members were killed re-opened with a new name last year.

Despite assurances hotel security has been tightened, Miss Evans said she feels uncomfortable with the idea of tourists heading back to the beaches.

Suzy Evans with her son Owen Richards

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She told the Express & Star: “I just hope people are going to read all the facts about the country.

“At the end of the day, people make their own decisions on whether they feel safe going on holiday but they just need to be aware of the full facts.

“At the moment, Tunisia is still in a state of emergency and the Foreign Office also says terrorists are very likely to carry out a terrorist attack. More importantly, the Tunisian trial still hasn’t taken place.

“I hope staff have been told what to do in an emergency.”

Asked if she believed the Tunisian hotels were safe from the threat of terror, Miss Evans said: “I am yet to be convinced.

“If people feel safe going into hotels with security scanners and on the beach with armed guards next to them – is that what you want when you go on holiday?

“Personally, I don’t think Tunisia is ready but customers have to make their own decisions and weigh it up.”

Slaughtered

Miss Evans added: “I am surprised they are offering flights to as destination where 38 people were slaughtered on the beach.

“It was paradise when they were there but it went to hell in the end. I’m shocked people are going.”

Thomas Cook has continued to fly German, French and Belgian holidaymakers to Tunisia, because their governments did not warn citizens to stay away.

The airline’s chief executive Peter Fankhauser said yesterday he would be ‘foolish to say that any destination is 100 per cent safe’ but added: “We are confident we have done everything we can do as a tour operator to make the holiday experience as nice as possible for our customers.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Deputy Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Deputy Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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