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
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...