Egypt proclaims ‘new era for Egyptian tourism,’ reassures holidaymakers

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’.

 

What will the riots mean for London tourism and the Olympic Games?

Over the last few days images of London riots have been shown across the world. As the violence and looting calms down, thoughts are now turning to fears of the city’s tourism suffering severely just a year ahead of the Olympic Games.

Only seven miles from the Olympic Stadium, the rioting broke out in Tottenham where there was wide spread crime, burning buildings and vehicles.

Visit London says it is too early to anticipate the effect the violence will have on visitor numbers but said it was monitoring the situation closely.

Coverage of the riots in the international press, lead Germany to issue travel advice to its citizens, telling them to exercise ‘special caution’ in the wake of the troubles.

Its travel advisory stated: ‘Travellers should also look to the media to keep themselves informed about the latest developments and act in an appropriate fashion locally.’

In India, the editor of the country’s Lonely Planet magazine told his Twitter followers to avoid coming to the UK at all.

Vardhan Kondvikar said: ‘Violence has now spread to Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool.

‘Try not to travel to the UK this week if possible.’

And Latvia went a step further, advising citizens to avoid parts of Britain and ensure they have health and life insurance policies.

Sweden, Denmark and Finland quickly followed its lead by issuing safety advice to stay vigilant and keep an eye on local media and British websites for safety updates.

It has also been highlighted that the violence in the city will now leave London trying to defend the safety of the Games, according to the New York Times.

The respected paper stated: ‘With the Games set to begin in barely 12 months, Britain will have to satisfy Olympic officials that there is no major risk of the Games being disrupted, or ruined, by a replay of the rioting.’

A spokesperson for the 2012 Olympics insisted perspective visitors to the Games should not be deterred,  telling TravelMail: ‘We have already made detailed security reviews with the police and the Home Office and will continue to do so in the run up to the Olympic Games.’