Adventure holiday companies are cancelling trips to Egypt en masse for the coming months as conflict continues in the country following the removal of president Mohammed Morsi.
Holiday companies Explore! and Exodus have cancelled several of their planned trips following an advisory from the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) against all but essential travel to Egypt, except to resorts in the Red Sea region. Exodus has cancelled tours until the end of September and Explore! has cancelled all holidays to the country until October 5. The companies are contacting customers to inform them of the changes and offering them the opportunity of booking another tour or receiving a full refund.
In its statement, Explore! Said, ‘The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to most of Egypt. Consequently we have taken the decision to cancel all Explore tours due to depart prior to October 5, 2013, and our Reservations team has contacted customers due to depart within this period to discuss cancelling or transferring their bookings.’
‘Moving forward we will be reviewing the situation in Egypt on a weekly basis and will be looking at tours departing after October 06, 2013 and informing customers accordingly over the coming weeks,’ it added.
Egypt’s violence has had its effect across the travel industry. Thomson has re-routed a cruise that departed last week and was due to call at Alexandria and Port Said. The ship is now visiting Ag Nik, in Crete, and Haifa, in Israel. Thomson and First Choice have also cancelled all outbound flights to Luxor.
‘People should also take considerable reassurance from the fact that the resort of Sharm el Sheikh operates like a country in itself. It is run separately from the rest of the Egypt, benefits from having just one secure road into the resort, and enjoys an exceptionally low crime rate,’ a spokesperson from Thomson said, adding that there have been no related incidents in Sharm el Sheikh.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Thomas Cook said, ‘We continue to monitor the situation in Egypt and are working in close contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, adding: ‘Our experienced teams on the ground assure us that no tourist areas at the Red Sea have been affected. The resorts to which we travel are fully operational and holidaymakers are continuing to enjoy the popular resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada.’
Hayes and Jarvis have also issued a statement saying. ‘The Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh is one of our most popular destinations in Egypt and all the reports from resort hotels indicate that it remains safe for holidaymakers.
‘Despite the current situation in other parts of the country, we have had no reports that this has affected people’s enjoyment while on holiday in Sharm el Sheikh or other Red Sea resorts. Of course we will continue to follow FCO advice and advise our customers to do the same.’
While trips to the cities, Nile River cruises and cruise stop offs have been cancelled due to the ongoing violence, the FCO has reassured travellers that they were safe to visit Red Sea Resorts. The St. Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site has also been declared trouble free, along with the roads between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. The regions that are still considered safe for British travellers are the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab.