Tourism authorities in Egypt have heralded a ‘new era for Egyptian tourism,’ as tour operators look forward to the withdrawal of a UK Foreign Office travel advisory.
Amid the mass demonstrations that ended in the defeat of Mohammed Morsi last week, the Foreign Office had advised Britons against all but essential travel to the country – excluding the Red Sea resorts.
However, the latest statement released on behalf of Omayma El Husseini, director of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, proclaimed a ‘new era for Egyptian tourism’, saying that tourists should be ‘assured of their safety and ability to complete their planned visits without disruption.’
‘Tourists booked to visit Egypt this summer are equally reassured that there is no impediment to their visit,’ the statement said. ‘They will come to enjoy Egypt as millions of tourists have done for years and years, in safety and security, welcomed by their friendly and hospitable Egyptian hosts. Tourism in Egypt is expected to boom as of next autumn as the country settles down to its newfound democracy which will bring peace and prosperity to this great country and its united people.’
While last week the Office had warned Britons against travel to major parts of the country, it excluded the popular Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab on the Sinai peninsula; St Catherine’s Monastery – a World Heritage Site also in the Sinai; roads between the five locations; and mainland resorts including Hurghada. Those wishing to cancel their trip to any of the Red Sea resorts were not allowed to do so free of charge.
The warning has reportedly resulted in the cancellation/deferral of hundreds of package holidays and cruises to the country’s attractions, including Luxor and Giza. Affected holidaymakers were entitled to a full refund or an alternative itinerary, but not obligated to accept the latter, the advisory said.
Following the Travel ministry’s statement, the Association of Independent Tour Operators said that it was expecting the Foreign Office to withdraw its advisory soon, and ‘holidaymakers should not be worried about [visiting] Egypt in the near future’.