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Business

Travel shares plunge after Tunisia attacks

Shares in British tour operators have fallen as traders reacted to the shooting of 38 tourists at a Tunesian beach resort last week. Despite the violence, TUI said it was on target to have a year of windfall profits.

Markets punished tour operators TUI and Thomas Cook on Monday on the London stock exchange following

last Friday's deadly attack at a beach resort in Tunisia

that primarily targeted Western travelers.

Shares in TUI fell 10.4 percent and were worth less than ever before. Thomas Cook stocks shed almost 8 percent.

The dip reflected investors' unease over vacation activity after at least 15 Brits were murdered by Islamic terrorists. The British government has warned that the number of British victims could more than double.

Some 20,000 British nationals were on package holidays when the gunmen struck last week, but the company said Monday that bookings of such trips had not decreased. A spokesman for TUI told the Reuters news agency on Monday that the company was still on target to have a record year of profits in 2015.

Greek drama

TUI and Thomas Cook also both played down the effect that Greece's hastily announced week of bank holidays was having on the travel sector.

At the same time, they advised tourists in the Mediterranean country to plan ahead and bring enough cash with them.

Since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a surprise announcement over the weekend that Greece would hold a referendum on July 5 over the country's cash-for-reforms bailout deal, the European Central Bank has ceased its emergency liquidity financing of Greek banks. To prevent a bank run, Greek banks remained shuttered on Monday and there will not be access to cash machines until Tuesday.

cjc/uhe (AFP, Reuters)

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