Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

Marking the first year anniversary of Mohamed Mursi's presidency, there has been violent demonstrations across several Egyptian cities from Alexandria to Cairo. Occasionally during these protests,  deaths, injuries and extensive property damage has occurred. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)has recently advised against all but essential travel to Egypt, except for resorts in the Red Sea region. How advisable really is this though? Is everyone over-exaggerating and is it truly safe to travel to any part of Egypt?

Currently the German and French governments have advised against all travel to Egypt, and all the holidays have been cancelled there. Naturally this is not going to make the British tourist very confident about going on holiday to a red-sea resort, with many tourists wanting to cancel their holidays and get their money back for fear of their own safety. Some tourists may even pay high administration charges to change their destination to a safer place; however is this really fair if other countries have already stopped their tourists from travelling to Egypt?

Holiday adventure companies such as Explore! And Exodus have cancelled all of their tours and holidays until October in awake of the violent situation that is rippling around the country. 

The violence across Egypt has caused effects for the whole of the travel industry. Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all outbound flights to Luxor, trips to the cities, cruise stop-offs and Nile river cruises have also been cancelled in the area.

However, the UK Foreign Office has reassured travellers that they can still go on holiday to the Red Sea Resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada as these are considered very separate from the rest of Egypt.

Tourists are advised to stay within the hotel complex, and therefore cannot see any of the world famous Egyptian sights. Arguably it isn’t fair at all that people are still paying full prices for holidays in Egypt, merely to be confined to a hotel complex for a week or two.

The trouble free areas of Egypt include the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab, as well as St. Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site, the roads between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh.Sharm lies a considerable distance away from the trouble in Cairo- approximately an eight hour drive.  

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) opposes to the advice from the Foreign Office and hopes it to change its advice about not travelling to the country unless it’s essential.
So, if you are planning on travelling to Egypt, some of the precautions that you should be aware of include:
        1.       Making sure that you have well covered travel insurance
           2.       Your travel company should be registered with ABTA or Atol
           3.       Keep up to date with the news and check the Foreign Office regularly for updates: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

However, as the FCO say it is safe to travel to certain Egypt destinations, then there is no way you can get your money back if you decide not to travel. If things do get worse and the FCO advises against travel to anywhere in Egypt, then if you have booked a package holiday you may be able to get an alternative holiday or your money back.


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