More holiday cancellations hit Egypt - The New Indian Express

More holiday cancellations hit Egypt

Published: 08th July 2013 03:18 PM

Last Updated: 08th July 2013 03:18 PM

Explore, the adventure travel specialist, has cancelled all holidays to Egypt until at least October 5.

Its move comes after a weekend of violent demonstrations in Cairo, and other major cities, during which dozens were killed, and follows the Foreign Office’s decision last week to advise British travellers against all but essential travel to large parts of the country.

The company has cancelled five tours, adding that it had done so “to guarantee the safety of its customers and to give them as much time as possible to plan an alternative holiday". Those affected will be offered a full refund or the opportunity to rebook their trip to another destination. A decision on tours departing after October 5 will be made in the coming weeks, it added.

“We take the advice issued by the Foreign Office very seriously and for that reason, have cancelled all Egyptian tours departing over the next few months,” a spokesman said.

Last week Thomson cancelled all flights to Luxor, and Audley Travel and Sanctuary Retreats also postponed a number of tours. Discover Egypt has cancelled two Nile cruises.

The Foreign Office is currently advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to the whole of Egypt with the exception of the Red Sea resorts, including Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Nuweiba.

“Since President Morsi was removed from office on July 3, 2013, there have been large demonstrations, and clashes between opponents and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the security forces,” says the Foreign Office website. “On July 5, 36 people were killed, and over 1,000 injured. Most of the casualties were in Cairo and Alexandria, but there have also been clashes elsewhere, including Luxor, Assyut, Suez, Ismaliyya, and Qena. The Red Sea resort of Hurghada saw limited protests but there are no reports of violence.” It adds that further demonstrations are likely, and that some protestors may be hostile towards foreigners. On June 28, a US citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. Some reports have suggested he was stabbed after being seen filming the protest.

The Foreign Office’s warning is more extensive than the one issued in January 2011, at the height of the uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak, when it advised Britons to avoid travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. That advisory was lifted a few months later.

While the advisory is forcing tour operators to cancel trips to Egypt’s ancient attractions, most Britons who visit the country head to the Red Sea resorts so the majority of holidays to the country are going ahead. Independent travellers will still be able to visit destinations beyond the Red Sea, should they wish to do so, but may face difficulty obtaining adequate insurance.

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