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Mixed fortunes for tourism in Egypt and Tunisia

Egyptair has said that its business is returning to normal following the massive disruption caused by last week's protests across the country, as governments begin to change their travel advice for the region.

According to Air Transport World, the Egyptian flag carrier has said that planes are beginning to fill again, adding that Cario International Airport is now working normally, although flights to some Japan airports will not resume until next month.

This week, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain have all eased their travel advice for Egypt as demonstrations around the country have come to an end following the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Travel industry publication Travel Trade Gazette reported earlier this week that tour operators in the region have seen an upturn in enquiries, although tourism to the region is likely to remain pressured for some time, according to a survey released by market research firm GfK.

According to its statistics, the number of Germans - Egypt's second-largest inbound tourism market - booking their vacations to Egypt for the coming months has halved, with consumers choosing to go to Turkey or Spain instead.

The figures are even worse for Tunisia, with bookings of summer vacations down by 85 percent, although the lifting of travel restrictions for the country by several governments has prompted tour operators including Kuoni, Cosmos, Thomas Cook, First Choice and Thomson to begin planning flights again within weeks.

What's the current travel advice? (as of February 15)

  • The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to Cairo (all four governorates, including Giza), Alexandria, and Suez, although it no longer advises against travel to Luxor and has lifted the recommendation that British nationals without a pressing need to be in Cairo Alexandria and Suez leave by commercial means.
  • The US Department of State continues to recommend that US citizens avoid travel to Egypt at this time.
  • The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has no specific warnings in place for Tunisia.
  • The US Department of State continues to advise US citizens to defer non-essential travel to the central, western, and southern regions of Tunisia, although it notes that the situation appears to have stabilized in the coastal touristic zone extending from Tunis in the north to Sousse in the south.