As civil unrest brings violence and political turbulence following the toppling of President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, many holidaymakers and tour operators are cancelling their planned travel to the country.
Two adventure holiday companies, Exodus and Explore! have cancelled many of their planned trips as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises nothing but essential travel to the Red Sea region and Egypt.
Currently, holidays have been cancelled up until 5th October.
Package holiday giants, Thomson and First Choice Holidays have cancelled all outbound flights to Luxor. Whilst a Thomson cruise, due to call at Alexandria and Port Said in Egypt last week was re-routed due to the turmoil in the country, instead calling at Ag Nik in Crete and Haifa in Israel.
In a recent online poll by travel agents, 73% said they would currently not recommend the country to their customers.
The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) says it is hoping that the Foreign Office will soon amend its advice about warning tourists not travelling to parts of the country, fearing the detrimental affect it will have on the travel industry. As a result, the AITO issued a statement warning tourists not to let current political events affect their future holiday plans.
Egyptian tourism authorities have also issued statements encouraging holidaymakers to come to the country.
While holiday giant Thomson has cancelled business in the mainland, it maintains that there is no need to fear should travellers be holidaying in Sharm el Sheikh, saying that the region is effectively operating as ‘business as usual’. A Thomson spokesperson has issued a statement saying that Sharm el Sheikh effectively is a country in itself. It is run separately from the rest of the Egypt; it benefits from having just one secure road into the resort, and enjoys an exceptionally low crime rate. It also stated that Sharm el Sheikh was an eight hour drive from Cairo – putting into context the distance, saying ‘is the equivalent of driving from London to Dortmund, Germany or from Manchester to Bruges, Belgium via the channel tunnel.’
Whilst luxury tour operator, Hays & Jarvis, issued a reassuring statement to its travellers, saying “The Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh is one of our most popular destinations in Egypt and all the reports from resort hotels indicate that it remains safe for holidaymakers.”