Terror trial may have big impact on travel

Concern over legal threat after terror attacks
Travel experts are warning of the potentially devastating consequences for the industry if the families of the Tunisian massacre victims are successful in suing Tui.
It follows last week’s pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of 30 British tourists killed in the terror attack in Sousse last June, which saw a representative of the relatives reportedly state there were “likely to be civil claims” in the future.
The hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London heard that the families were troubled by the lack of warning given to the victims about the likelihood of a terrorist incident in Tunisia.
It was also reported that the families want the coroner to demand new measures such as a “traffic light system”, which would be used in holiday brochures to highlight the risk of terrorism in destinations around the world.
“[The families] are very concerned that Tui and the travel industry in England and Wales are still involved in a general practice which puts customers at risk by hiding or ignoring Foreign Office warnings in their brochures and booking forms,” said Andrew Ritchie QC, who is representing 16 families.
Allegations were also made that travellers had been discouraged from cancelling potentially dangerous trips due to fears of financial penalties. Tui labelled the allegations “contentious”.
Legal experts told TTG they believed the families would be unsuccessful in their bid to sue the travel giant, but admitted the case could still have far-reaching repercussions for the industry.
“It seems like a non-starter, but clearly they think there’s a case. They’ve got an extremely experienced QC and they don’t say this kind of thing unless they’re serious,” said Matt Gatenby, partner at Travlaw.
“If it was successful, it would have significant implications – every holiday and travel firm would have to look carefully at what they are providing. They would be worried about receiving potential similar claims. Would this include places such as London, Paris or Berlin? They are all at risk of terrorism.”
The full coroner’s inquest will be heard on January 16, 2017.
TTG Digital