British travel agents offer cheap Egypt deals

British tour operators offered a string of promotions Tuesday on holidays in Egypt's Red Sea resorts which remain popular with holidaymakers despite unrest elsewhere in the country.

Britain is advising its nationals against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Luxor, while those without a pressing need to be in the first three destinations are advised to leave by commercial means.

However, the Red Sea resorts popular for winter sun breaks such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada "remain calm", the Foreign Office says, stressing they are far from the main flashpoints.

The two biggest tour operators in Britain, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel, which runs Thomson and First Choice, offered several deals to the Red Sea.

"Egypt has all the ingredients for a great last-minute holiday," says the Thomas Cook website.

More than 1.3 million British tourist visits are made to Egypt every year, the FCO says, with the vast majority heading to the Red Sea.

Around 30,000 Britons are currently in the country, with TUI Travel customers accounting for more than 11,000, of which around 8,700 are in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Thomas Cook has a one-week holiday starting Friday in an all-inclusive, four-star Sharm el-Sheikh hotel at 319 pounds (515 dollars, 370 euros), flying from Manchester.

First Choice is offering a two-week holiday in the resort from 359 pounds flying from London Luton on February 17.

Thomson has flights seats at 79 pounds on a one-way flight from Edinburgh to Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday and return flights from Manchester at 159 pounds leaving Wednesday for 10 days in the resort.

Other return flights from Britain to Red Sea destinations were priced at 149 pounds, with some flights nearly full.

TUI Travel told AFP there had been no incidents related to the uprising in the Red Sea resorts, where it was "business as usual".

"The atmosphere is quiet and calm, with Sharm el-Sheikh's main resort of Naama Bay bustling as people continue to enjoy their holidays as normal," a spokeswoman said.

She stressed that Sharm el-Sheikh "operates like a country in itself", run separately from the rest of Egypt, with one main road in and low unemployment due to the tourism industry.

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