Published on Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tour operators cancel flights, holidays and cruise stops to Egypt

Updated: 10:08am on Wednesday, 3 July

Tour operators are cancelling holidays, repatriating clients and re-routing cruises following a change in Foreign Office advice to Egypt.

Discover Egypt said holidays departing today, tomorrow and Friday had been cancelled as the FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to Egypt apart from the Red Sea Resorts in Sinai and the Mainland Red Sea Coast.

The specialist in 'Classic Egypt' rather than a standalone Red Sea programme, added that customers travelling after this date should check the website for updated information.

A spokeswoman said: "We do have some passengers due to  continue their holiday in the Red Sea resorts and this will be facilitated as per their schedule. We will continue to feature holidays to all the Red Sea resorts."

Thomson and First Choice have also cancelled all outbound flights to Luxor and are repatriating all customers currently holidaying in Luxor back to the UK today.

Thomson has also re-routed a cruise with scheduled Egyptian stops. 

However, it said the majority of customers are in Sharm el Sheikh which is an eight-hour drive from Cairo and is not part of the Government warning.

A spokeswoman for TUI Travel said: "Our resort team are currently in the process of updating all customers of the curtailment to their holiday.

"Our cruise team will continue to monitor the situation and are reviewing Egyptian itineraries and the shore excursion programme on a daily basis. The itinerary for the cruise that departed from Marmaris, Turkey on 1 July has already been amended, and we are now calling in Ag Nik, Crete and Haifa, Israel instead of Alexandria and Port Said."

The Foreign Office said it is not recommending 'immediate departure' for those already in Egypt but Britons in areas where they are advising against essential travel should consider whether they have to stay.

It also advised holidaymakers using Cairo airport as a transit stop not to leave the airport grounds.

It said: "While in Egypt they should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (e.g. their hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to their personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. They should take particular care to avoid crowds. The situation is changeable and they should continue to watch our travel advice closely.

The FCO travel advice states: "In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine's Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine's Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. See South Sinai and Road travel.

ABTA issued the following comment on its website: "Holidaymakers currently in, or travelling to in the next few days, areas that the FCO advises against travel to, such as Cairo and Luxor, are advised to contact their travel company.

"Holidaymakers to the Red Sea Resorts, such as Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, are not affected by the change of advice and will be able to continue their holidays as planned; the resorts are operating as usual."

On Monday, the US government warned tourists against travelling to Egypt following heightened tension and demonstrations in the country (see previous story).

Islamist President Mohammed Morsi insisted last night that he remains the country's legitimate president, as mass protests claimed more lives in the capital, Cairo.

The health ministry said that 16 people had been killed and 200 injured at a pro-Morsi rally near Cairo University on Tuesday night, reports the BBC.

Egypt's tourism minister Hisham Zazou stepped down earlier this week.

For full details of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice, click here.

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