Does Terrorism in Tourist Hot Spots Affect Our Decision to Book?

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Simpson Millar LLP asks - Does Terrorism in Tourist Hot Spots Affect Our Decision to Book?

Last week we saw the horrific terrorist attack unfolding in Tunisia – as a single gunman killed 38 tourists on a beach. In the wake of this awful event, 3,500 tourists have decided to leave Tunisia.

In the wake of this awful event, 3,500 tourists have decided to leave Tunisia.We're looking at how tourism will be affected in the area, and what happens for those already booked to go.

74% Decide not to Holiday in Tunisia After Attack

We decided to conduct a survey asking people what they would do if their holiday destination was hit by terrorism.

74% Decide not to Holiday in Tunisia After Attack


We asked people how much the recent terrorist attacks in Tunisia would affect their decision to make future bookings their in future, and 74% of the respondents said that it would.

We also asked how much terrorism factors into the holiday booking process in general. 45% said this is an important factor, and they fully research the area and Foreign Office advice before booking. 39% of people are content with taking the advice of their travel agent on whether terrorism is an issue in the area and if it's safe to travel.

45% said terrorism is an important factor in the holiday booking process, and they fully research the area and Foreign Office advice before booking. 39% of people are content with taking the advice of their travel agent.The results also found that;

The result found found that Wealthier are people less affected - 40% of those earning more than £40,000 a year said they wouldn't let the events in Tunisia affect future bookings, as opposed to 24% of those earning between £10,000 and £39,999. This could perhaps be because people feel that more expensive holidays pose less of a risk. - Older people are less likely to risk booking in Tunisia - 88% of people aged 55-64 said the events would affect bookings, as opposed to 62% of 35-44 year olds. - Men slightly less likely to let terrorism in Tunisia put them off booking – 30% of men said it wouldn't them off, as opposed to 22% of women.

Overall, our results have found that only 16% of the people we surveyed will continue to book wherever they want and refuse to live in fear. This shows that encountering terrorism abroad is a big concern for the vast majority, and that terrorism hugely affects our decisions to travel to certain destinations.

What if You Want to Cancel?

As we've seen from our statistics, and from the thousands of tourists choosing to leave Tunisia, staying in a country affected by terrorism is a great cause for concern for many. People fear that it's unsafe to go away, and question what they can do to cancel the holidays they have already booked.

Nick Harris, our Head of International Holiday Travel Law, sheds some light on the issue:

"Essentially, whether or not you could cancel your holiday with no strings attached would ultimately be up to the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – if they declare it unsafe, then that's it. If they don’t, then your holiday remains a contractual issue, and whether or not you can cancel and get a full refund would be at the discretion of the operators."

So far the FCO have acknowkedged that further terrorist attacks in Tunisia are "likely" and they suggest following the "advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator." The FCO advise against any travel in certain areas, however state that most tourists stay in coastal resorts and are trouble free. They suggest that people should be "especially vigilant at this time."

This means that the tour operators aren't obliged to cancel trips to Tunisia. We advise that if you want to cancel, make sure you pursue it with your travel operator as soon as possible – as charges may rise the longer you leave it.

Travel Insurance Could Help

Our survey also found that 60% of people don't actually know what their travel insurance covers in relation to terrorism. Nick, who is based in our Manchester office, explains how insurance can be beneficial:

Our Survey Also Found - 60% of people unaware of insurance cover extent and 17% do not have insurance

"Another recourse if you fail to cancel the trip with your tour operator could be to cover the cancellation with your travel insurance. Most insurers have a clause covering individuals against war and civil unrest, which this may fall in to."

Surprisingly, we found that 17% of people don't have any travel insurance for their trip. It's always advisable to buy travel insurance at the time of booking your trip, as it could be incredibly useful should something go wrong before you are due to travel.

Who Should I Talk To?

At Simpson Millar we strongly suggest that anyone concerned should contact their tour operator as soon as possible.

They may be able to answer your concerns regarding travelling to Tunisia or other countries at risk of terrorism. Your tour operator may be sympathetic and offer a goodwill gesture or the offer of traveling to a different destination.


To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.




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