Foreign Office reviews Egypt advice

Foreign Office reviews Egypt advice

A Foreign Office (FCO) review of advice on travel to Egypt was underway this week with tour operators hoping for a relaxation of advice against travel to Cairo and Luxor.

However, a senior FCO official rebuffed the idea of a speedy change. The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel other than to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts.

Louise Proudlove, head of consular assistance at the FCO, told the Elman Wall Travel Directors’ Summit in London: “The industry appetite for a return to full travel is always going to be more than the government’s.

“It requires a period of calm [in Cairo].

She said: “Where advice has not changed, that is being reviewed. We review advice regularly.”

Egypt remains under a state of emergency following the army’s overthrow of President Morsi in early July.

Thousands have died, with the army reported to have killed 500 protesters on a single day in August.

Tui Travel announced last week it would switch capacity away from Egypt this winter. But smaller tour operators have expressed hope the advice against all but essential travel to Cairo could change next month.

The UK stood alone among governments of major European tourism markets this summer in not advising against all travel to Egypt.

Proudlove said: “UK advice was more specific than most other countries’, which advised against all but essential travel Egypt-wide.

“We held out. We tried to recognise that the Red Sea resorts were safe and calm.”

The differing advice meant Tui Travel and Thomas Cook cancelled holidays to the Red Sea resorts from Germany and France but carried on as normal from the UK.

Asked why other EU governments acted differently, Proudlove said: “There can be different political risks and it can depend how cautious ministers are.

“You often find the UK position is a more nuanced one.”

She said: “The same was true of Turkey [following large protests this summer]. We are careful to be specific about where unrest is.”

Proudlove told the summit: “We welcome feedback on whether we pull it off.”

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