Call for Caution on Return of Tourism to Egypt

In the space of several weeks the group that proclaims itself as ISIS, has made two attacks in Egypt; one against Coptic Churches in the North of the Country and the other at St Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula.

As a result of these attacks, Egypt's President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has declared that the Country in now under a 3 month State of Emergency.

Meanwhile, the UK's Foreign Office Travel Advisories makes a reference to the State of Emergency and still advises that Consumers can travel to Sharm El Sheikh because it is within the 'perimeter barrier', but they also advise against all but essential travel to Sharm El Sheikh Airport, which is also within the 'perimeter barrier'!

The FCO does not define what is meant by the 'perimeter barrier' nor what it is a barrier against.

Further, the FCO does not explain the contradiction of being able to travel to a destination in the 'perimeter barrier' but not to the airport which is also within the 'perimeter barrier'.

Against this backdrop, we hear of Travel Companies selling holidays to Sharm El Sheikh for departures in October & November 2017; it raises the question: 'Has an agreement been made between the Travel Companies, the FCO and the Egyptian Government to lift the restrictions on travel and if so, what is the basis of that agreement?'

This organisation has long offered solidarity to the people of Egypt, particularly those who rely on tourism for their income. However, they would also agree with us that the return of tourism, without strong measures of protection in place, offers the potential, against a continuing backdrop of criminal attacks, of a catastrophe in the making.

The recent Tunisian Inquest revealed the deficits in operations, advisories and security and what needs to be done to fill those gaps.

Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:

"Time and time again I offer my support to the people of Egypt, but, I am sincerely concerned with regards to the backdrop of violence in Egypt and frankly I do not see this abating. Support for the people of Egypt and its tourist trade should not only be a priority but reflect strong methodologies on how it will be protected. I am also concerned that tourists are once again being offered on the altar of economics, becoming its unwitting foot-soldiers in the pursuit of normalcy. By all means restore tourist activity but not without dealing with the underlying concerns on security and in particular developing an open and honest commentary and information from which Consumers can make their own value judgements. At this stage, all I see is a slow-creep of the return of tourism to this area, without the necessary transparent apparatus or dialogue to accompany it; I sincerely hope that all involved do not live to regret any failure to learn the lessons of Tunisia and I would urge all Consumers to carry out an extensive research before you book that holiday!"

 

Tags: Egypt Sharm el Sheikh Security Terrorism Travel Advisories FCO