EGYPT used to be one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world but its tourism industry has been rocked by continued warnings over terror.
The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh and Thomas Cook has cancelled holiday bookings there for the winter of 2017/2018 and Summer 2018.
What to do if you’re thinking about visiting Egypt.
In recent years the country has been rife with political turmoil, violent protests and terrorism attacks.
The number of tourists visiting has decreased dramatically following the revolution, attacks on foreign journalists and government advice not to go there.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice 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.
There is no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, 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.
Israel’s counter-terror agency had suggested its nationals in the region leave and advised them against travelling there over summer due to fears of an imminent ISIS attack.
The FCO say “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt”.
Their website states: “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.
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.
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.
Visitors are told to exercise extreme caution in all border areas.
GOV.UK say it’s “generally low”, but over the years expatriates have been targeted and crimes committed including armed robberies, muggings, sexual assaults, rapes, break-ins and car-jackings at gun and knife-point.
They are more likely to take place in areas popular with expatriates, including during the daytime and they target four-wheel drive cars especially, while muggings have also happened in taxis.
In 2016, the British Embassy responded to 3 cases of rape and sexual assault against British nationals in Egypt.
It’s advised not to be the last person to travel on a microbus and to take great care when travelling alone. Always use hotel safes and watch out for bag snatchers and pickpockets.
If something happens, then report it to the Egyptian police immediately or you won’t be able to seek a prosecution.
Road accidents are rife due to poor road conditions and dangerous driving.
Road accidents killed almost 16,000 people in Egypt in 2011 and it’s advised to avoid independent road travel outside main cities and resorts at night.
Buses aren’t too much safer either and there have been a number of fatal bus crashes in recent years involving tourists.
The FCO also say there is a threat of kidnapping, particularly in remote desert areas.
Again, there are many fatalities in recent years.
Suspect devices have been on trains and at train stations and you should remain on guard, especially on the Cairo-Alexandria line.