Foreign office Egypt advice means 'lockdown' for tourists

New warnings will have an immediate impact for British travellers

The Foreign Office has strengthened its warnings for British travellers to Egypt. It follows an attack on a tourist bus in the resort of Taba on 16 February, in which three South Korean tourists and the Egyptian driver were killed. Security at Egyptian holiday resorts has been stepped up after a warning purportedly made by a militant Islamist group against tourists. How could your holiday be affected?

 

Q What exactly is the Foreign Office saying?

The government’s official advice is basically prescribing a lockdown in the main resort of Sharm El Sheikh. The majority of British tourists in Egypt are located in this resort, which is in the south Sinai area – close to where Sunday’s attack took place. The Foreign Office has warned holidaymakers against straying beyond Sharm El Sheikh’s “perimeter barrier”. This cordon was imposed around the resort following a terrorist attack in the resort in 2005 in which 88 people died.

The area inside the security zone is deemed safe. Accordingly, holidays will continue as normal, but all excursions beyond the security cordon have been cancelled. Previously, the strip of Red Sea shoreline from Sharm to Dahab and Taba on the Israeli border was regarded as safe.

Q What does that mean for people who are on holiday there – or who are booked to travel in the next few weeks or months?

Anyone in Sharm El Sheikh will be expected to continue with their holiday until the day they are booked to fly home, and anyone with a holiday planned will not be able to cancel without losing some or all of their money. To paraphrase the attitude of the tour operators, “normal terms and conditions apply” – flights to Sharm El Sheikh are still operating, and last-minute holidays to the resort are still on sale.

That would change only if the Foreign Office warned against travel to Sharm El Sheikh, in which case holidaymakers in the resort would be repatriated and no further flights would be operated until the travel advice changed; anyone with an imminent booking would get a full refund.

Q What about travellers elsewhere in Sinai?

A small number of British holidaymakers - mainly dive enthusiasts - are thought to be in Dahab and Taba. If they are on package holidays then the operators will be taking steps to repatriate them. Those booked to travel to these resorts on packages should get a full refund.

Independent travellers have no such protection; in order for their travel insurance to remain valid they will need to leave the area quickly.

Q How seriously is the threat against tourists being taken?

A There’s uncertainty about the veracity of the threat. It was posted on an unofficial Twitter account claiming to represent Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a group linked to Al Qaeda. The Foreign Office has no doubt that the group carried out Sunday’s attack on a South Korean tour bus, and says that “The group has threatened further attacks against Egypt’s economic interests”. As repeated atrocities in Egypt have shown, the softest of economic targets are overseas tourists.

On Wednesday, however, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism put out a statement saying the threat was not credible, and insisting that every security measure is being taken to prevent a re-occurrence. But that is what the authorities said after each of the attacks against tourists in Egypt - starting with the Luxor massacre in 1997 in which 62 people, including six British travellers, died.

For the full Foreign Office travel advice see www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Day In a Page

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border