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Foreign Office changes Egypt travel advice

Warning against visiting Pyramids and Luxor

Pyramids Cairo

UPDATE (15 AUGUST 2013): 

The following news story was written on 03 July 2013. Since then, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice for people travelling to Egypt has not changed despite the evolving events of the past two days. However, local authorities in Sharm el Sheikh have now temporarily stopped tourist excursions, while in Hurghada, police have advised tourists to remain within hotel grounds.

Continued violent protests about Egypt’s leadership have led the British Foreign Office (FCO) to warn against travel to most of the country, including key tourist areas.

Britons are now advised to avoid all but essential travel to the majority of Egypt, including the Pyramids of Giza outside Cairo, and Luxor.

The advice does not cover Red Sea resorts in South Sinai such as Sharm el Sheikh, and resorts on the Egyptian mainland in the Red Sea governorate, such as Hurghada. 

Tour operators have reacted to the change in FCO advice by cancelling or curtailing holidays in affected areas. Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all flights to Luxor, and are repatriating customers currently in Luxor back to the UK. Discover Egypt has cancelled all holidays departing today, Thursday and Friday. 

Holidaymakers currently in Egypt or travelling in the next few days to areas the FCO advises against visiting are advised to contact their travel company.

Find out your rights for cancelling a holiday due to unrest.

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

Millions of Egyptians have been taking part in mass leadership protests and outbreaks of violence have been reported across Egypt. See our previous story.

The FCO said it is ‘not recommending immediate departure’ for Britons already in the country, but holidaymakers in areas where all but essential travel is discouraged should consider whether they need to stay. It also advised Britons using Cairo as a transit stop not to leave the airport.

Popular Red Sea resorts including the entire region of Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab are not affected by the change of advice and are still deemed safe to visit by the FCO. See full details of the Foreign and Commonwealth advice here.

Package holidays to Egypt

Because the FCO has advised against all but essential travel, tourists who have already booked a trip to the affected areas of Egypt will find that most tour operators will cancel the trip, find a suitable equivalent, or provide a refund.

If you are due to go to the areas still deemed safe by the FCO advice, such as Sharm el Sheikh, you will be unlikely to get a refund should you decide to cancel the holiday due to the unrest, and travel insurance companies are unlikely to pay out for cancellation.

However, if you have bought a package holiday to a Red Sea resort not affected by the change in advice, and the situation becomes so bad that the tour operator can no longer guarantee a safe, secure and enjoyable holiday, then it may have to find you a suitable equivalent holiday or give a full refund, depending on the circumstances. If this happens while you are in the destination, the tour operator would have a responsibility to get you home.

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