Visiting Tunisia

By | Category: Travel destinations
Matt Wallace - the winner of the Tunisian Open

Matt Wallace – the winner of the Tunisian Open

Yesterday a Brit, Matt Wallace, won the Tunisian Gold Open in Port El Kantaoui.

He like a number of other Britons and Belgians had defied the advice of the governments and travelled here to play in the tournament.

As have the other 4,000 Brits who have travelled here so far this year.

No golfer I spke to gave any indication  that they felt concerned by playing here. One Belgian remarked that he came from Brussels. His city and Tunisia had suffered at the hands of terrorists and why should they be allowed to stop him travelling. If that happened they would have won.

Yet the golfers, those Brits who had travelled here have probably risked coming here because if anything had been stolen – or worse still and they had fallen ill requiring hospital treatment – their travel insurance would have been invalidated because of that Foreign Office advice.

Yes, there are insurance policies that can be bought to give a traveller some comfort but most of us buy off the shelf policies which carry a list of exclusions that would fill a page.

The top placegetters in the Tunisian Open were from the UK, Italy and Spain. Here pictured with the leading Tunisian player

The top placegetters in the Tunisian Open were from the UK, Italy and Spain. Here pictured with the leading Tunisian player

Should insurance companies be allowed to use this cop-out so that they have no responsibility to fulfil their other policy details? Should we, the travellers, be expected to make sure that the insurance we buy covers from all contingencies?

And what should happen if I buy an annual policy yet three months into it the government issues an advisory notice but I have already booked to go there which, at the time of booking, had no such advice to avoid travelling there? Shouldn’t my policy be valid because at the time I bought it, it was valid for wherever I planned to travel?

These questions have passed through my mind in the last few days as I have watched the golf and seen how important tourism is to Tunisia. There are derelict hotels, some that were set to be refurbished and some that are have built that won’t have any work done of them until the travel ban is lifted. They are closed market and tourist stalls that are boarded up and many thousands have been thrown out of work.

Habib Aamar - the head of tourism in the Sousse area, presenting second price to Italian Enrico Di Notte - and hoping more tourist scome to Sousse and Tunisia

Habib Aamar – the head of tourism in the Sousse area – presenting second prize to Italian Enrico Di Notte and hoping more tourist scome to Sousse and Tunisia

Surely, I asked Tunisians, couldn’t travellers from other nations fill the gap left by the non -arrival of the Brits?  I received the same answer time and time again. Other nations who have bans – Belgium and the Netherlands – seem to be waiting on what action Britons take. Tour operators outside the UK seem also to be waiting for the UK to lead before they start promoting the country.

If the Tunisians ran a campaign in the UK to encourage us to holiday there it would be like throwing money down the drain as most tour operators wouldn’t offer or consider bookings so travellers would have to “package” their own flights and accommodation.

Travelling to Tunisia all hinges on whether you have insurance and that depends on what our government says. Unless you do as you will like Matt Wallace and the other Brits who played in the Open.

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