Cairo's out, but Red Sea still on itinerary

2013-07-08 13:03

Paris - At least one French tour operator has postponed trips to Egypt, while German and Swiss firms halted visits to Cairo as protests erupted following the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Yet UK and German operators said it was otherwise business as usual in the country, as tourists were mainly heading for the Red Sea area, miles away from centres of unrest such as Cairo and Alexandria.

The British and German foreign ministries have advised against all non-essential travel to Egypt, apart from to popular Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, while the French authorities have issued a travel warning for all of Egypt.

"We are giving our members the travel guidelines of the French foreign ministry," said Jean-Marc Roze, head of the French travel agencies federation (SNAV). "We are monitoring a situation that may evolve rapidly."

Thomas Cook France said it was offering its 130 clients already in the Arab country the option to shorten their stay and had postponed trips to Egypt until July 14.

"Of course we can expect that there will be an impact, certainly with what's happening this week," said John Kester, programme coordinator for market trends at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

"Tourism is a ... very important sector for the economy, so it's in their interests to return to normal as quickly as possible," Kester said.

Egypt received 14 million international tourists in 2010, before the revolt that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Western Europeans are the largest group, followed by eastern Europeans and tourists from the Middle East.

That figure fell to 9.5 million in 2011, before recovering to 11.2 million in 2012. In the first five months of 2013, tourist numbers were up 12 percent year-on-year.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Europe's largest hotel group Accor, which has 18 hotels in Egypt, and Britain's Intercontinental Group, said they were monitoring the situation closely.

"The recent unrest in Egypt has not directly affected ... operations in our nine hotels across the country, all of which remain open," said Pascal Gauvin, InterContinental's chief operating officer for India, the Middle East and Africa.

French carrier Air France said it was also business as usual for its daily flight to Cairo, while British Airways and EasyJet said they had seen no real impact and were following guidance from the foreign office.

A spokesperson for Lufthansa, which flies to Cairo, said: "In the coming days we are really full because it's the peak season. Medium-term there's a slight decline in bookings."

Thomas Cook in the UK and French operator Club Med said tourists felt secure in resorts near the Red Sea.

In Germany, TUI Deutschland , Thomas Cook and DER Touristik also said events had not hit bookings as their customers were booked mostly into Red Sea resorts.

However, German tour operators have stopped offering trips to Cairo until July 12.

Swiss travel services group Kuoni said it was not offering trips to Cairo at the moment and advised customers against visiting the Egyptian capital or other large cities.

The company said it had 600 clients at Red Sea holiday resorts, mainly in the Hurghada region, and so far had not received any cancellations from its clients in Egypt or from its markets such as Scandinavia and Switzerland.

Read more on:    egypt  |  travel international

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.