Tunisia's situation reflects the challenges faced by other Arab Spring states that have historically been popular with tourists: It wants a return to normalcy but has yet to figure out how to make that possible.
Violent protests took place in front of the US Embassy in Tunis on Friday, leading to the US evacuating its non-essential staff – and encouraging US citizens in the country to leave.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) September 15, 2012
The Foreign Office did not, however, follow suit – no restrictions are currently in place for the area.
Although it described future demonstrations as “likely”, it said the country “is no longer experiencing the widespread unrest that occurred during the events of January 2011”.
It warns that travellers should be “aware that spontaneous and unpredictable events such as political and industrial protests… still occur regularly”, and includes details of deaths and damages to the Tunis Embassy and the nearby American School on its website.
The US has also withdrawn all non-essential staff from its embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, following an attack there. The wave of violence against US embassies is said to have been triggered by an anti-Islamic film – also cited as the reason for the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other consulate staff, in Benghazi last week.
Before the recent incidents, Tunisia’s tourist industry had recently shown strong signs of recovery, with statistics showing a 34 per cent increase in visitors in May this year compared to the same month in 2011.
British visitors to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, have also been told to exercise caution near the US Embassy, and to avoid any demonstrations.
For more information, see the Foreign Office website.
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