Irish tour operator closes one month after Tunisia resort attack

Just Sunshine customers who had booked with company will be refunded

Flowers on the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, where 38 people lost their lives after a gunman stormed the beach last month. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Flowers on the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, where 38 people lost their lives after a gunman stormed the beach last month. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

 

About 200 people who had planned to travel to Tunisia have been reassured their money is safe following the closure of a tour operator one month after a deadly terrorist attack in the country.

Just Sunshine Limited, which had an office in Merrion Square, Dublin and which dealt exclusively with the north African destination, ceased trading on Tuesday.

Three Irish people were among 38 tourists gunned down at Sousse on June 26th.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation, which licences tour operators, confirmed the closure.

The Irish office of Just Sunshine, whose parent company is based in the UK, had only been open for the last year and is thought to have employed three people. The company could not be reached for comment.

All tour operators and travel agents are required by law to be licensed and bonded in order to sell overseas packages, as a contingency in the event of such a closure.

“Customers that have made a booking to Tunisia with Just Sunshine Limited through a travel agent should contact that travel agent in the first instance,” the Commission said in a statement.

“For customers that have a booking directly with Just Sunshine Limited, a claim for a refund should be made to CAR by completing the claim form which is available on CAR’s website.”

The company has no customers abroad at this time. Demand for holidays in Tunisia is now virtually nonexistent in the aftermath of the attacks.

One weekly charter flight was organised by Sunway with a proportion of its 175 seats sold through Just Sunshine, but that was cancelled at the beginning of July.

The value of the approximate 200 outstanding holidays is unknown but it is understood that all customers will be fully refunded.

“It’s the first closure of a licensed [operator], despite the economy, in six years,” said Pat Dawson, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association.

He said that while demand for holidays has been growing in traditional destinations like Spain, Portugal and Italy, others have felt the knock-on effects of the Sousse gun attack.

Morocco and Turkey, there is sluggishness because of Tunisia. It’s not flying off the shelves like it would have done.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs has continued to advise Irish citizens against any “non-essential” travel to the country.

The closure of Just Sunshine Limited on Tuesday, however, is solid confirmation of the devastating impact on the Tunisian tourism industry inflicted by last month’s attacks.