Find out more about Cathy Toogood
Should I travel to Egypt?
Update 12/12/16: Following an explosion at an Orthodox Cathedral in Abbaseya, Cairo on December 11, the FCO advises that tourists remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials.
Currently, certain parts of Egypt are deemed to be unsafe for British nationals.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and all but essential travel to the areas west of the Nile Valley/Nile Delta regions and 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. There is more information below regarding the slightly confusing situation in Sharm el Sheikh.
Cairo, Giza and many other popular tourist resorts remain open, with business as normal, including the Red Sea resort area of Hurghada. Other destinations, including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, are also open to tourism.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket, says: “The most important thing around holidays to Egypt is to keep abreast of the situation using reliable news services and, of course, the FCO travel advice. This should be viewed along with the advice of your operator or airline and that advice should be followed at all times.
“Since the plane crash of late 2015, holidaymakers choosing to travel to Egypt have been able to do so without any problem and while the country is quiet from a visitor point of view, the locals remain welcoming and there are some excellent deals to be found, especially in the Hurghada area of the Red Sea.
“By booking an ATOL-backed package rather than a DIY holiday you have extra protection for your trip so that if this kind of situation arises you will be looked after by your holiday provider rather than having to fend for yourself. You should also consult your travel insurance policy to ensure you know what you are covered for and if in any doubt contact them before committing to any additional expenses.”
Sharm el Sheikh advice
Following the crash of a Russian Metro aircraft on October 31, 2015, the UK government suspended all flights between the UK and the popular Sharm el Sheikh area.
Since then, UK carriers have suspended flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh airport until further notice, in accordance with Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice. The FCO does not technically advise against travel to Sharm el Sheikh (it’s marked green on the FCO’s map, seen on the previous link), but as flights are suspended it is neither easy or necessarily advisable to try to reach the resort in any other way.
At the time of the suspension, it was unclear how long flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh would be unavailable. The latest information is that flights are unlikely to start again until 2017 at the earliest.
Current advice (January, 2017) from major operators and airlines:
Monarch: There are no plans to include Sharm el Sheikh on Monarch’s summer 2017 programme. This will be reassessed according to FCO advice.
Thomson and First Choice: All holidays and outbound flights are cancelled up to and including September 30, 2017. After this date, Thomson Airways may begin operate a reduced flying programme in the event of a change to the FCO’s current travel advice.
Thomas Cook: All holidays are cancelled for the entirety of 2017.
British Airways: Flights are suspended indefinitely until the FCO changes its advice.
EasyJet: Flights are suspended indefinitely until the FCO changes its advice.
I have a holiday booked to Egypt – can I cancel my booking?
Unless the FCO changes its advice to “avoid all travel” to the area you are visiting, it is unlikely you will be able to cancel your booking without losing out.
I have made independent arrangements to travel to the country – do I have any rights?
If you cancel your trip you may lose money if the travel company you have booked with is not offering free cancellations on its arrangements. Independent travellers with future bookings should contact their airline and hotel companies to discuss options open to them.
You should also consult your travel insurance company to ensure that your policy is still valid and you are aware of the cover you have extended to you for travel disruption, for example.
What if I travel to parts of Egypt against the advice?
If you decide to go to areas the FCO advises against visiting, any travel insurance cover you have will no longer be valid (unless you have taken out very specific insurance).
Please note: This is an updated version of a previously-published article. All facts were correct at the time of the most recent update (December 1, 2016).