Tui settles with survivors of 2015 Tunisia beach massacre

Holiday company ends dispute with British families over terrorist attack that killed 38

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 27, 2015, people react at the site of a shooting attack on the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis. A Tunisian court was poised to give verdicts on February 8, 2019, in the trials of suspects in deadly jihadist attacks on the Tunsian capital's Bardo museum and on a beach in the tourist resort of Sousse, lawyers told AFP.
On June 26, 2015 a shooting rampage in Sousse killed 38 people, most of them British tourists. / AFP / Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD
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Holiday company Tui has reached a settlement with the survivors and relatives of the 2015 terrorist attack that killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia.

The travel operator said the settlement was made “without admission of liability” after families claimed damages.

The terrorist, Seifeddine Rezgui, opened fire at tourists on the beach and inside the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the coastal city of Sousse. Also armed with explosives, he killed 38 people in total in an attack claimed by ISIS.

Tui was accused of failing to make sufficient security preparations or warning tourists about the dangers of travelling to Tunisia, but a British judge previously rejected a claim of neglect. The response of the UK's Foreign Office was separately criticised.

In a joint statement with lawyers representing more than 80 victims, Tui said it hoped the settlement would help people move on from the attack.

The company “has always expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those caught up in the terrorist attack that day and continues to extend deepest sympathy.

“Tui appreciates how difficult it must be to move on from such a horrific incident but hopes today will provide the opportunity for those affected to start to do so.”

The statement said the relatives had “fought tirelessly to understand how the attack happened and to seek to ensure that lessons have been learned.”

“Tui has worked collaboratively … to reach a settlement without admission of liability or fault and in recognition of the wholly exceptional circumstances of the case, and in the hope that it will go some way to assisting the claimants,” it said.

An armed guard patrols a beach in the aftermath of the attack in Sousse, Tunisia. Getty

The gunman, Rezgui, was shot dead by police in the aftermath of the attack. Four people were later convicted by a Tunisian court over the rampage.

An inquest in a British court ended in 2017 with a finding that a claim of neglect against Tui could not apply to tourists who voluntarily went abroad.

But the judge, Nicholas Loraine-Smith, raised two “matters of concern” regarding Tui, namely its failure to appoint a security adviser to its board and the lack of prominent pointers to government safety advice. He said there were similar issues with other companies.

Britain’s current travel advice says terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia and gives examples of previous incidents.

Tui said at the time that it had since addressed these issues.

The judge also criticised the Tunisian police, whose response to the massacre he described as “at best shambolic, at worst cowardly”.

The response of hotel staff was disorganised and chaotic, but some people showed “conspicuous personal courage” in the face of the attack, he said.

Updated: January 06, 2022, 1:20 PM