Thomas Cook resumes fligts to Tunisia after 3 years

REUTERS
LONDON
Published

Thomas Cook flew British tourists to Tunisia on Tuesday for the first time since an Islamist militant killed 30 Britons on one of the North African country's beaches in 2015.

Tourism provides much needed jobs and foreign currency in Tunisia, but it has struggled since the attack in the resort of Sousse killed 39 holidaymakers and an earlier one at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis left 21 dead.

The sector accounts for about 8 percent of Tunisia's gross domestic product and the attacks worsened an economic crisis started by the overthrow of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

The 2015 beach attack, which was claimed by Islamic State, prompted Britain to advise against all but essential travel to Tunisia, and major operators scrapped their tour holidays there. However, Britain's Foreign Office softened its advice last year and Thomas Cook said all three of its flights to Tunisia's Enfidha airport were full. It will fly there three times a week, allowing Britons to join German, French and Belgian holidaymakers who have been going for the last two years. Last year, the number of tourists visiting Tunisia rose by some 23 percent as hotels filled beds with Russian and Algerian visitors, but operators say they spend less than Western European holidaymakers during their stay.

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