British government lifts travel ban in Tunisia
by Elizabeth Finney
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has relaxed its restriction on holidaymakers heading to the North African country of Tunisia from "essential travel only" to "safe for tourists to visit", green-lighting large portions of the country, including the majority of its coastlines, on July 26.
Areas close to the borders of Libya and Algeria are still categorised as "advise against all travel" or "advise against all but essential travel."
“We are very happy to invite the superyacht community back to Tunisia. The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to the team and I," Kim Williams, co-founder of Yacht Services Tunisia said. "Although we have not experienced any issues in the areas of Tunisia where we are based, it is wonderful to have the reassurance for our clients from the British government."
The restrictions were originally in place due to the terrorist attacks at the Bardo National Museum and Sousse in 2015, in which 31 Britons were killed. The Foreign and Commonwealth office has been reviewing the situation since, working with the Tunisian government in order to support the country's security measures.
"Our travel advice aims to help people make their own informed decisions about foreign travel. Advice for Tunisia and for every country is regularly reviewed," said the minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt in a statement. "This update reflects our latest assessment that the risk to British nationals in Tunisia has changed. This is in part due to the security improvements that the Tunisian authorities and tourist industry have made since the tragic terrorist attacks in 2015, with support from the UK and international partners."
While this opens doors for travellers and is great news for the local businesses affected by the lack of tourism for the last two years, it is considered likely that terrorists will still attempt attacks in Tunisia, as in a number of other countries, so those heading to the country are advised to remain vigilant, specifically around large festivals and popular tourist sites.
Superyachts up to 110 metres can moor in Port Yasmine in Hammamet, which is on the south of the peninsula south east of Tunis, while yachts up to 35 metres can moor in Sidi Bou Said (pictured above.) North west of Tunis sits Marina Bizerte, which can host yachts up to 150 metres.
Williams added: “The Tunisian government are keen to support tourism and we have one of the quickest customs clearance departments outside the EU. The duty-free fuel is of the highest quality and our team thrives on making life as easy as possible for visiting superyachts. Rest assured we do all the leg work while the Captain, crew and guests either relax on board or choose to experience and explore the culture in this wonderfully diverse country.”
Once an extremely popular tourist destination, perhaps the change in travel advice will ensure Tunisia becomes one of the next must-see adventurous destinations to visit by superyacht.