Terror attacks expected to deter British holidaymakers

In this screen grab taken from video provided by Tunisia TV1, injured people are treated on a Tunisian beach Friday June 26, 2015. Two gunmen rushed from the beach into a hotel in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse Friday, killing at least 28 people and wounding others in the latest attack on the North African country's key tourism industry, the Interior Ministry said.
In this screen grab taken from video provided by Tunisia TV1, injured people are treated on a Tunisian beach Friday June 26, 2015. Two gunmen rushed from the beach into a hotel in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse Friday, killing at least 28 people and wounding others in the latest attack on the North African country's key tourism industry, the Interior Ministry said.

With the promise of hot weather and sandy beaches just a few hours away, Tunisia is one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers seeking a sunny getaway.

The North African country is in the 20 holiday hotspots for British travellers, with 424,000 tourists going there last year, according to the Foreign Office.

But Tunisia is not only a destination for British travellers. It is also very popular with Germans and the French, who have historic links to the country, and figures from the World Bank suggest six million foreign tourists visited the country in 2013.

Abta, the Association of British Travel Agents, says around 20,000 visitors are in the country at the moment, a number which excludes those tourists who have travelled there independently.

The country has had a chequered relationship with tourism in recent years, partly triggered by the huge social and political upheaval since the uprisings of the Arab Spring in 2011.

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a failed attack on the beach in resort Sousse in October 2013 - the site of the latest incident - and in March this year an attack on the National Bardo Museum in March killed 22 people, mostly foreign tourists including a Briton, leaving tensions high.

A spokeswoman for Abta said: “Tunisia had just started to recover to the numbers before the Arab Spring of 2011, but then it had the attacks on the museum in March.

“It is too early to say what impact it (today’s attacks) will have had, but we nearly always see when there is an incident such as the attack on the museum a drop-off in short-term bookings.

“This attack is still unfolding so it is far too early to say what the impact will be, but this kind of incident typically does have an influence on people’s decisions to go on holiday.”