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Published on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Holidaymakers caught up in the terror attack in Sousse had been assured by TUI before they travelled that Tunisia was ‘100% safe’, the inquest into the deaths of the 30 British victims heard today.

Andrew Ritchie QC, representing families of 20 of those gunned down at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel, told the hearing that two of the survivors, Paul Thompson and his daughter, had visited a TUI branch before their holiday and raised concerns about security in Tunisia following an earlier terrorist attack on the Bardo national museum in the capital, Tunis.

The pair were told that Tunisia was ‘100% safe’, he told the Royal Court of Justice. Ritchie also said that Cheryl Stollery, whose husband, John, was killed in the Sousse attack, claimed TUI agents didn’t show her Foreign Office travel advice warning of the risk of a terror attack when she booked her holiday.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office director of Middle East and North Africa Jane Marriott told the inquest that as part of a scheme between the FCO and tour operators, called Know Before You Go, travel agents would be expected to promote the travel advice.

Travel firms were also expected to display a ‘prominent Know Before You Go’ logo and link to the travel advice on their websites, she said.

When asked by Ritchie whether the claims by Stollery and Thompson make her feel ‘comfortable’, Marriott said: “We would expect our partners to fulfil that requirement [to promote the advice].”

Just the day before the Sousse terror attack, the FCO had met with UK government officials and the embassy in Tunis to discuss security issues in Tunisia, the hearing heard.

During the meeting, they had discussed ‘reaching out’ to tour operators to ensure they brought travel advice to customers’ attention.

However, at a cross-Whitehall meeting held 12 days after the Bardo museum attack it was decided that the travel advice would not be tightened to advise against all…

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