Can I change my Sharm El Sheikh holiday to another destination?
Tuesday 25 February 2014
Q. I have a holiday in Sharm El Sheikh booked early next month. I tried to change to another destination due to the threats against tourists. The holiday company has refused. But now that all excursions have been cancelled as a result of the threats, are they breaking their contract, as the holiday is not as advertised, nor what our expectations were on booking? Name withheld
A. Most British tourists to Egypt go to Sharm El Sheikh on the south-east edge of the Sinai Peninsula. However, they now face “lockdown” within a security cordon when they arrive, as a result of new Foreign Office advice. It follows an attack on a tourist bus in the resort of Taba on 16 February, in which three tourists and the driver were killed. The FCO believes an Islamist group based in the Sinai was responsible. The same group has apparently warned of further attacks on tourists. The new official advice is not to stray beyond the “perimeter barrier” around Sharm El Sheikh, which includes the airport.
Agreed, being confined within a security cordon is not everyone’s idea of a holiday. Excursions such as quad-biking and camel-riding in the desert are off-limits. But tour operators are very careful about what they promise. Typically, they will make sure that the holiday they offer is simply for the flight, the transfer and the hotel.
While holiday companies are happy to outline the excursions that are available, they make no guarantees about them. Indeed Thomson, the largest operator, says excursions may be cancelled when “there may be a risk to your comfort, health or safety”. That would certainly cover circumstances in Sharm El Sheikh right now.
Only in some very specific circumstances would holidaymakers have the right to a full refund or an alternative trip. If you have booked an archaeological or biblical trip taking in St Catherine’s monastery, for example, you could argue that the reason for the holiday has been undermined. But that argument won’t apply to the vast majority of visitors.
You can read more in our online Q&A at bit.ly/SharmQA.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...