Search Articles

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Change to UK Travel Advice for Egypt

In view of the continued unrest, the FCO has changed its travel advice for Egypt to recommend against all but essential travel to parts of the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths. See North Sinai

In view of continued unrest and the evolving political situation in Egypt, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Egypt except for resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in Red Sea governorate (including Hurghada).

In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine's Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine's Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. See South Sinai and Road travel.

If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain. If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. You should avoid crowds.

The FCO do not advise against the use of Cairo airport as a transit stop providing you do not leave the airport grounds.

Egyptian security forces have begun an operation to clear pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo. Operations are underway at Nahda Square close to Cairo University in Giza and at Rabaa Al-Adaweya mosque in Nasr City. A number of deaths are being reported by the media. Roads and bridges have been blocked by security forces in a number of places in central Cairo. Violent clashes have occurred near Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen.

There are demonstrations in other cities Egypt, including Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor, some of which have turned violent. Demonstrations in other cities are likely. Train services across Egypt are suspended.

A curfew was declared on 14 August between 7pm to 6am local time. The governorates affected by this are Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, South Sinai (Sharm el Sheik), North Sinai, Suez, Behera, Minya, Assiut, Souhag, Beni Suef, Ismailia, Qena and Fayoum. A national state of emergency declaration has been made for Egypt for a period of one month.

Travel advice for Red Sea resorts remains unchanged but local authorities in Sharm el Sheikh have temporarily stopped tourist excursions. In Hurghada the police have advised tourists to remain within hotel grounds. We advise British tourists to follow the regulations set by the local authorities and to obey curfews. British tourists should also ensure they keep valid identification with them at all times.

Tour operators are advising holiday makers that airport transfers to Sharm el Sheik will still take place during the curfew and that tourists going to other resorts, mainly Dahab, will be taken to Sharm el Sheik overnight and then travel onto their final destination in the morning.

Due to the current security situation the British Embassy in Cairo will be closed to the public on 14 and 15 August.

You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don't attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protestors.

There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Political and security situation.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners. See Terrorism.

Around one million British nationals visit Egypt every year. Most visits are trouble-free. Most consular cases occur in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh. In 2012, the FCO handled 23 cases of sexual assault and 6 cases of rape in Egypt.

You should carry some form of photographic ID at all times. A copy of your passport is usually sufficient.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

SOURCE UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office