FCO retains travel advice for Egypt

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has reviewed the travel advice that it issued for Egypt last week and reaffirmed it for all but essential travel to Egypt, with the exception of the Red Sea resorts.

The advice update comes as violence returned at the weekend with at least 50 people killed in Cairo. Also, the explosion on Monday in the southern Sinai town of El Tur has extended the violence into the region of Sharm el-Sheikh.

‘It can sometimes be true that different national groups are more at risk than others,’ Louise Proudlove, head of consular assistance, reportedly told the Elman Wall Travel Directors’ Summit in London last week.

The UK position was often ‘more nuanced’ and that advice was reviewed regularly, she said, adding: ‘We try to be as specific as possible.’

While operators have been seeking a speedy relaxation for travel to Cairo and Luxor, Proudlove rejected the idea: ‘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,’ she said.

A national state of emergency was declared in Egypt for a period of one month on August 14, after the army overthrew president Morsi in July. It was extended for a further two months on 12 September. The FCO said that there was serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations and strongly advised all British nationals in Egypt to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings.

Currently the FCO advises against all but essential travel to most of Egypt with the exception of Red Sea Resorts.

‘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,’ an FCO official reportedly said.