FCO rejects prospect of early relaxation of Egypt travel advice

FCO rejects prospect of early relaxation of Egypt travel advice

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office reviewed its stance on travel to Egypt last week, but still advises against all but essential travel to Cairo and Luxor despite some operators seeking a speedy relaxation.

Instead, violence returned at the weekend with at least 50 people killed in Cairo on Sunday. An explosion in the southern Sinai town of El Tur on Monday extended the killing into the region of Sharm el-Sheikh for the first time.

The FCO continues to advise against all but essential travel to Egypt outside the Red Sea resorts.

A senior FCO official earlier rebuffed the idea of an early relaxation. Louise Proudlove, head of consular assistance, told the Elman Wall Travel Directors’ Summit in London last week: “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.”

Egypt remains under a state of emergency after the army overthrew president Morsi in early July. Thousands have died since Morsi’s fall, with the army reported to have killed 500 protesters on a single day in August.

The state of emergency was extended to mid-November last month and the violence led Tui Travel to announce it is switching capacity from Egypt. The group said: “The winter 2013-14 Egypt programme is being reduced significantly.”

An FCO official said: “We keep advice under constant review but only change it when the situation in a country changes. There was large-scale violence over the weekend. I would not want to predict when [advice on travel to] Egypt might change.”

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