Ask the traveller: Curfew in Egypt
Wednesday 02 February 2011
We are booked to travel to Soma Bay, Egypt, departing Gatwick this Friday. We have no problems with the avoidance of Cairo, but the nationwide curfew is another matter. We do not feel it is reasonable to have a holiday where we are confined to our hotel between 4pm and 8am each day. We are golfers and had intended to play in the afternoons, then eat out at night. Neither of these options will be open to us if the curfew is truly nationwide. Can you tell us the legal situation – should we cancel on the basis of the curfew potentially ruining our trip?
Tens of thousands of people who have paid in full for holidays in Egypt are understandably concerned about what awaits them. The Foreign Office does not advise against travel to the main resort areas on the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea resorts (such as yours, just south of Hurghada) in the main part of Egypt. Therefore your holiday is (as of Tuesday evening) going ahead.
How strictly is the curfew being taken in your resort? Well, we called after dark on Monday and asked just that. The answer was: "Not at all, everything is normal here." That echoes the view of Clare Mucklow, of the Camel Dive Club & Hotel across the water in Sharm el-Sheikh, who managed to find an email connection to write: "The entire resort is calm, with no evidence of disruption. Tourists are frequenting beaches, cafés, restaurants and hotels as normal. There are no restrictions on moving around Sharm el-Sheikh, and the airport is fully open. Local excursions including diving, snorkelling, desert trips and visits to St Katherine's monastery are running as usual."
You are most unlikely to have any claim if you cancel on the basis of the curfew potentially ruining your trip. If it turns out to be spoilt by worsening political strife, you may be able to get some recompense – but we wouldn't bet too many Egyptian pounds on it.
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