Abta backs FCO Egypt advice as other countries warn against all travel

Abta backs FCO Egypt advice as other countries warn against all travel

Abta is happy for tourists to travel to the Red Sea areas that the Foreign Office has advised are currently safe.

Sean Tipton, media relations manager of Abta, said: "The Red Sea resorts are a fairly autonomous area of the country, they are very separate from the rest of Egypt and Sharm El Sheikh is a good eight hour drive from Cairo. We're very happy that if the Foreign Office feels it's safe to go, they do very in-depth risk assessments and if they say it’s safe then it is."

He also added: "What is more of a concern is people who have travelled independently, where they don't have the safeguard of being looked after by a tour operator."

The Foreign Office has warned British tourists in Hurghada to stay in their hotel grounds as violence escalates in the country.

The advice came after a man was killed in clashes on August 14 in an area away from the tourist resort.

The FCO said: "Hurghada Police advised tourists to remain in hotel grounds. We advise you to follow their advice. You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately."

The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to Egypt, except for resorts on the Red Sea including Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab, and areas on the Egyptian mainland in the Red Sea governorate, including Hurghada.

An evening curfew was in place in Sharm el Sheikh on August 14; however it was lifted at 6am yesterday morning.

Reuters reports that Germany, Switzerland and France have all advised their citizens not to travel to Egypt at all.

Germany's foreign ministry said it was now advising against travel to the country as a whole and advised "urgently" against travel to Cairo, upper Egypt, and the Nile delta.

France has advised against travel to all of Egypt since the start of July.

Thomas Cook has scrapped its excursions from the Red Sea resorts to other parts of Egypt. The operator said excursions to Cairo, Luxor, Moses Mountain and St Catherine's Monastery had been cancelled, however some excursions were continuing within the perimeter of Sharm el Sheikh.

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas and tour operators Thomas Cook and Thomson said they were monitoring the situation.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook added: "We continue to monitor the situation in Egypt and we are in close contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“Our experienced teams on the ground assure us that no tourist areas at the Red Sea have been affected by the recent demonstrations, bar an evening curfew in Sharm el Sheikh that took place and was observed on August 14. We have received confirmation that this was a one-off occurrence and that the curfew has since been lifted for the resort.
“Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are fully operational and holidaymakers are continuing to enjoy these popular resorts.”

A Tui spokeswoman said its Red Sea excursions were resuming today following the curfew.

She said: "Thomson and First Choice are working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and monitoring the situation closely in Egypt. 

"The majority of our customers are in Sharm el Sheikh which is a considerable distance - indeed, an eight hour drive - from Cairo. There have been no related incidents in Sharm el Sheikh or any of the other popular Red Sea tourist areas."

The Foreign Office said on its website: "You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don't attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protestors.

"If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain. If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. You should avoid crowds.

"There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations."

There are thought to be more than 40,000 UK tourists in the country, most of them staying at destinations including Sharm El Sheikh.

The death toll stands at more than 500, with thousands injured when police cleared two protest camps in Cario set up to denounce the military overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi.


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