In recent years Egypt has been rife with political turmoil, social instability and terrorism attacks.
The number of tourists visiting Egypt has decreased dramatically following the military coup in 2013. Last January, Tarek Amer, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) told a parliament’s economic committee that foreign exchange revenues from tourism declined from $11 billion in 2011 to $3.4 billion in 2016.
However, tourism sector has witnessed another blow as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated in its latest update statement that there is no change in the UK government’s assessment of the level of threat from terrorism in Egypt.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice said that “it is against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh after a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed in North Sinai.”
The FCO said, “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt.”
The FCO website states that,”You should be vigilant at all times, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one.”
Nine tourists were killed in September 2015 in the Western Desert when they were mistakenly attacked and killed by the Egyptian military who thought they were terrorists.
A Croatian man was kidnapped and killed by ISIS in July 2015 in the western desert near Cairo.
And in June 2015, terrorists tried to attack Karnak Temple in Luxor – the first attack in nearly 20 years – but were stopped by police.
If you are in Egypt, the website urges to keep updated on news revolving the country and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
They advise to stay away from demonstrations, protests and large gatherings and to leave immediately.
How severe is the terrorism threat in Egypt?
According to the FCO, there is a “high threat from terrorism in Egypt”.
The website states.”The main threat is from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. You should be vigilant at all times, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one.”
The FCO advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai where the Egyptian armed forces are conducting operations against extremist groups and there are frequent reports of attacks.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq. However, the FCO advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.
Moreover, the FCO also advise against all but essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh.
There’s a risk that tourists at high profile sites like the Giza Pyramids may be confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car, or taxi. Visitors using a pre-booked guide, or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties.
There have been a number of attacks in Cairo mainly targeting government and security targets. In addition,Visitors are told to exercise extreme caution in all border areas.
British Travel Agents Cancel Trips to Egypt
Thomas Cook cancelled its Sharm el-Sheikh holiday bookings and flight programs for this year as a result of the continued UK Foreign Office warnings over potential terrorist incidents.
The five winter flights per week that the company had scheduled – in the hopes that the Foreign Office decision would be overturned by winter – have all been scrapped and agents are contacting customers with bookings to offer alternative holidays or their money back.
In addition, Flights from Bristol Airport to Sharm El Sheikh have been cancelled after the Foreign Office warned of the threat of terrorism.
The statement reads,”We have removed Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt from our Winter 2017/18 and Summer 2018 holiday and flight programmes.”
“The five flights per week which we had scheduled this winter have now been cancelled.
“We are contacting those customers who have booked with us to offer a refund or a destination change free of charge. Latest update on Sharm El Sheikh Your safety is our number one priority.”