Saturday, 1 April 2017

EGYPT: Israel Advises Tourists To Check Out Of Sharm el Sheikh Over Terror Threats

Egypt is likely to be subject to an ISIS terror attack in the near future according to Israel, which has warned tourists in the Red Sea resorts to leave immediately.

What does this mean for tourists?

Israel has warned that it believes an ISIS terror attack is imminent in Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, and is advising citizens to leave the area immediately.

Israelis have also been warned to cancel all future travel plans to the area.

“We don't want to cry wolf, wolf,” Eitan Ben-David, the head of Israel's counter-terror bureau, said. “We really believe that the threat is serious.”

The Red Sea resorts include tourist destinations such as Sharm el Sheikh, Luxor and Hurghada.

These are popular resorts with British holidaymakers for winter sun, and while demand has dropped off since prominent terrorist attacks in 2015 and last year, thousands still visit every year.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not updated its advice in response to Israel’s claims that a terror threat is imminent.

Although it advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai, it specifically excludes the Red Sea Resorts.

The FCO says: “The tourist areas along the Nile river including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada aren’t included in the areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel.”

Rasha Azaizi, director of the Egyptian State Tourist Office in the UK, said: "Egypt is and has always been open for business and 2017 will be a year of major growth and recovery. Tour operators, like Thomas Cook, are reporting a pump up in sales.

"As in every country in the world, the security measures in Egypt are very strict. As the terrible events in London last week have shown, terrorism is a global phenomenon and we all must be vigilant."

British visitors are still warned not to fly into Sharm el Sheikh after a plane from Sharm to St Petersburg, Russia, crashed in 2015.

Russian authorities stated that the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the plane.

The FCO says: “As a precautionary measure, we are advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.”

When asked about whether the threat level in Egypt had increased, an FCO spokesperson said: “FCO Travel Advice is kept under constant review.”

Frank Brehany, MD of HolidayTravelWatch, said: "Whilst tourism has essentially stayed away from Egypt, we must understand their reasons for doing so, whilst offering sympathy and understanding to those who rely on that tourism.

"It is not in my view the role of UK holidaymakers to be simply a ‘commodity' in the promotion of tourist trade between the UK and Egypt; that can surely only come when all the right measures and conditions are in place to guarantee their safety and indeed demonstrate that they not only work but that there is stability in any difficult destination."

The threat of terrorism is currently labelled as “high” in Egypt.