Egypt travel advice: is it safe to go?

August 15, 2013

Egypt Travel

By 

As Egypt reels from the worst violence in decades, the nation’s vital tourism industry seems certain to suffer. Egyptian security officials are forcefully dispersing sit-ins, resulting in a spiralling toll in deaths and injuries, while the country is under emergency law until further notice. So what to do if you’re already booked to holiday there?

The Foreign Office (FCO) currently advises against all but essential travel to the country, except for the Red Sea resorts, such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab. Meanwhile, the Egyptian daily newspaper al Alhram reports that the ministry of state for antiquities has closed all archaeological sites and museums across Egypt.

British Airways says it has altered flights schedules to Cairo so that they do not land in the evening, into the dusk-to-dawn curfew that has been imposed across the capital and other major areas. “We are keeping the situation in Egypt under constant review,” a British Airways spokesperson said. “We are also offering customers the option of rebooking to a later date, or to another destination.”

Britain’s biggest travel operator, Thomson and First Choice, states: “The majority of our customers are in Sharm el-Sheikh which is a considerable distance – indeed, an eight-hour drive – from Cairo. There have been no related incidents in Sharm el-Sheikh or any of the other popular Red Sea tourist areas.” Booking conditions for the resort destinations of Sharm el Sheikh, Marsa Alam, Taba and Hurghada remain “as normal”, with tourists flying into the resorts airports. The operator currently has 11,769 British tourists in Egypt.

The vast majority of travellers heading to the Red Sea resorts fly there directly. EasyJet runs flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, which land outside of curfew hours. A spokesperson for the airline said the company can refund tickets that have already been booked, but added they haven’t seen any demand for this.

The UK travel association Abta also states that conditions relating to travel to Red Sea resorts are continuing as normal, although customers travelling outside of this area “will be offered the option of deferring their date of travel, transferring to another destination or having a full refund for as long as the advice remains in place”. It assures that: “Red Sea resorts are largely self-contained and autonomous with the majority of customers staying in large complexes, often all-inclusive with a wide selection of bars and restaurants.”

But the FCO has further cautions on what travellers should do when they actually get to these resorts. Its latest statement says: “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.”

Travel journalist Matthew Teller, who specialises in the Middle East, says that there is an inherent difficulty around travel advice in such cases.

“What the FCO does or doesn’t say rules the roost in terms of what tour operators can and can’t offer clients.” Even if it doesn’t seem like you can do much while you’re there, major tour operators aren’t likely to let you change plans if you’re booked to travel to an area the FCO has deemed to be safe for travel.

Meanwhile, cruise operators MSC, Costa and Holland America Line are all reported to have pulled their Egypt-bound ships. This latest crisis will be a sharp blow to the Egyptian tourism industry, which is struggling to recover in the turbulent period following the uprising of 2011, which deposed Hosni Mubarak.

In 2010, a record 14m tourists arrived in Egypt and the industry represented 13% of GDP, directly or indirectly employing one in seven workers. But even before the recent crisis, the Egyptian tourism federation estimated hotel occupancy rates in Cairo to be around 15% while in Luxor – the site of the Valley of the Kings, that figure was barely in single digits.

Advertisements

Egypt ministry of tourism releases a surprise statement

July 8, 2013

Egypt Tourist minster

The Ministry of Tourism of the Arab Republic of Egypt is proud to proclaim a new era for Egyptian tourism following the revolution of June 30, 2013.

This statement was received by eTurboNews from Mr. Mohamed Gamal, general manager of the Egyptian Tourist office in Frankfurt, Germany.

Mr. Gamal went on to say:” Every tourist visiting Egypt presently is a most welcomed guest, whose security is safeguarded by the Egyptian people and by the authorities, and all must be assured of their safety and ability to complete their planned visits without disruption. Their families and friends at home should be equally reassured.

Tourists booked to visit Egypt this summer are equally reassured that there is no impediment to their visit. They will come to enjoy Egypt as millions of tourists have done for years and years, in safety and security, welcomed by their friendly and hospitable Egyptian hosts.

Tourism in Egypt is expected to boom as of next fall as the country settles down to its newfound democracy which will bring peace and prosperity to this great country and its united people. Welcome to Egypt!”

Even during the heat of violent protests in Cairo, tourist enjoyed diving and beautiful beaches away from the Capital.

Egyptians however  remain deeply divided about which direction their country should go as supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Hundred thousands went to the street on Sunday. The protests come two days after clashes left 36 people dead and more than 1,000 wounded.

Away from the streets, an attempt to install Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister was quashed after an Islamist group objected to the Nobel laureate. State media and other sources had confirmed the appointment on Saturday, but later in the day the president’s spokesperson walked it back.

The latest statement by the Ministry of Tourism spokesperson in Germany demonstrates how important travel & tourism is for Egypt as an industry. Most likely tourists will continue to enjoy unspoiled beaches, but may have to stay back from Cairo and the Pyramides for some time.

FYI: The U.S. State Department and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have urged citizens to cancel travel plans to or within Egypt, amid ongoing protests and renewed violence in the country.


Brazil World Cub 2014 in danger to be cancelled ?

June 24, 2013

brazil-worldcup-2014

Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, New York, Berlin, Australia, among many places with a Brazilian population protested to give  support for what’s happening in their home country Brazil.

More than a million demonstrators marched through Brazil’s biggest cities on Thursday, with many participants calling for fans to boycott the biggest travel & tourism event ever in Brazil – the World Cup.

CBN radio and the website of the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, both respected, mainstream media, carried reports speculating that the eight-team Football’s Confederations Cup tournament, considered a dry run for next year’s World Cup, was in danger. However, FIFA says there are no plans to cancel the tournament. The Brazilian News paper Estado said that two FIFA vehicles were attacked in Salvador, where Uruguay played Nigeria on Wednesday, and its employees had been instructed not to wear uniforms outside their hotel.

World football’s governing body FIFA has asked Brazil’s government to provide security guarantees amid fears that sweeping civil unrest could pose a threat to the Confederations Cup.

Less than a day after widespread rioting in Brazil’s biggest cities, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke denied speculation the tournament, considered a 2014 World Cup warmup event, could be aborted.

“We have asked for security measures that we need in place for the competition to continue until the end,” Valcke told Estado de S. Paulo.

“I hope that this doesn’t last until 2014. It’s a problem that Brazil needs to resolve, not FIFA. We are the wrong target.”

The protests, which started in Sao Paulo last week over rises in transport fares, have morphed into a nationwide movement against government corruption and the cost of the biggest travel & tourism event on the globe – the World Cup.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as protestors attempted to enter the foreign ministry in Brasilia while violent clashes were also reported in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

About 150,000 anti-government demonstrators again took to streets in several Brazilian cities Saturday and engaged police in some isolated, intense conflicts. Anger over political corruption emerged as the unifying issue for the demonstrators, who vowed to stay in the streets until concrete steps are taken to reform the political system.

Across Brazil, protesters gathered to denounce legislation, known as PEC 37, that would limit the power of federal prosecutors to investigate crimes — which many fear would hinder attempts to jail corrupt politicians.


Annual list of most family-friendly beaches in US released

June 17, 2013

Beaches

PENNINGTON, N.J. – According to a recent survey from an online family travel planning guide, nearly half of all families reported that the most important factor in choosing a beach to visit with kids is the cleanliness of the beach and its waters. The second most important factor is safe waters with a lifeguard on duty, followed closely by accommodations within walking distance.

“Families want to know that the beaches they’re visiting are safe for their kids – they’re looking for clean beaches to play on, and safe waters for young swimmers,” says Lissa Poirot, executive editor of Family Vacation Critic. “At the same time, convenience also plays a big role in the decision-making process – over a third of respondents said that they look for beaches that are close to where they’re staying and have nearby facilities and entertainment options.”

With those factors in mind, Family Vacation Critic has named the 10 Best Beaches for Families. The beaches were chosen by the site’s editors, based on the features most important to families — cleanliness, safe waters, and nearby restrooms, restaurants and entertainment.

Family Vacation Critic’s 2013 list of the 10 Best Beaches for Families includes:

Beach Haven – Beach Haven, NJ

Bethany Beach – Bethany Beach, DE

Coquina Beach – Nags Head, NC

Coronado Central Beach – Coronado, CA

Fort De Soto Park – St. Petersburg, FL

Poipu Beach Park – Koloa, HI

Sand Harbor Beach – Incline Village, NV

Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, FL

Skaket Beach – Orleans, MA. For all your travel need  please visit http://www.admastravel.com

 


Lufthansa firms up order for 100 A320 Family aircraft

June 17, 2013

Lufthansa-a320-200

LE BOURGET, France – The Lufthansa Group has firmed up a previous Supervisory Board decision from March this year and signed for 100 A320 Family aircraft (35 A320neo, 35 A321neo and 30 A320ceo with Sharklets) at the Paris International Airshow in Le Bourget, France.

The Lufthansa Group has been operating the A320 Family since October 1989. They were the launching customer for the A321 and belonged to the first operators of the A319 and A320. The new order confirms Lufthansa’s leading position as the largest Airbus airline customer and operator in Europe, increasing its order for the A320 type to 299. Over 150 of these aircraft have already been delivered.

“These modern and fuel-efficient aircraft will meet the future growth and fleet renewal needs of the Lufthansa Group airlines. By purchasing these aircraft, we will be able in the long term to offer customers a comfortable and modern product in the highly competitive environment. In addition, these aircraft are contributing significantly to reduce noise and emissions wherever we fly our aircraft to”, said Nico Buchholz, Executive Vice President, Lufthansa Group Fleet Management.

“Lufthansa is a loyal customer, and has been operating our aircraft for almost 40 years. We are extremely pleased to receive this repeat order and thank our prestigious customer for their continuing strong commitment to our eco-efficient products. The A320 Family represents the highest level of operational performance while also offering Lufthansa passengers superior level of comfort and services,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.


Ethiopian Airlines CEO Elected to IATA Board of Governors

June 13, 2013

EAL pilots

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Tewolde-Gebremariam EAL CEO

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, has been elected to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors.

IATA is a trade association for the world’s airlines. Its 240 airline members comprise 84 percent of the world’s total air traffic and its Board of Governors consists of top executives from 31 airlines from around the world. Mr. Gebremariam will join Presidents, Chairmen and CEOs of some of the world’s largest airlines, further placing Ethiopian Airlines at the forefront of the airline industry.
“I am delighted to join my distinguished colleagues on the IATA Board of Directors,” said Gebremariam. This appointment is recognition of not only Gebremariam, but also of Ethiopian Airlines. With more than 7,000 staff members, one of the industry’s most up-to-date fleets, and service to 72 international destinations, Ethiopian is quickly becoming Africa’s premier carrier.
About Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in1946 and now provides dependable services to 72 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian Airlines is proud to be a Star Alliance member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions toward the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won the “Airline Reliability Performance Award” from Bombardier Aerospace; “African Airline of the Year Award” from Air Transport Quarterly Magazine; “Transformation Award 2012” from Planet Africa Network; and the “International Diamond Prize for Excellence in Quality” from the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR). Also Captain Desta Zeru, Vice President of Flight Operations for Ethiopian, won an “Africa Legend of Travel” award from African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) magazine and Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam won “African CEO of the Year” from the African CEO Forum as well as “African Business Leader of the Year” from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
With its acquisition of and firm orders for several new modern fleet, the airline is well positioned to pursue aggressively the implementation of its 2025 strategic plan to become the leading aviation group in Africa. for more info contact www.admastravel.com

Top Five Secrets to Savvy Travel

June 1, 2013

 

TravelingFamilyCartoon

*Fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday.

Traveling on off-peak days – and at  off-peak times – means lower fares, a less crowded cabin, and a greater  chance of snagging those elusive mileage-award seats. Taking two days off  for a long weekend?   Instead of a Thursday –Sunday or Friday – Monday trip, save money by flying on a Saturday and returning on a Tuesday.

*Hop Between Cities at Midday. 
When you’re traveling through Europe or Asia and need to get from
one city to another, consider scheduling transportation for the middle of
the day.   If you leave at dawn, you miss the sunrise – ideal for photography and observing locals – and reach your destination at midday, when temperatures are highest and the light is at its worst for photos, and is too early to check into your hotel.   You may also have to fight rush-hour commuters and miss a breakfast that is included in your rate.

*Visit Islands During Shoulder Season.

Peak-season rates on islands often   reflect nearby countries’ vacation schedules rather than the best time to  visit.   In low season, many businesses shut down.   Shoulder  season – when crowds are thinner but the weather is still good – is the  solution.

*Sign Up For E-Mail Notifications.
The best airfare and hotel sales are largely unannounced.   Airlines and hotel  companies target specific subsets of travelers – loyalty program members, holders of certain credit cards, people who’ve registered on their Web sites – and alert them by e-mail.  To keep your in-box from being bombarded, get a dedicated e-mail address for such alerts and check it when you’re ready to start planning your next trip.

*Get the Best Room for Your Dollar.

At luxury properties, rates vary substantially  according to occupancy.   A room could be $350 one week because there’s a big group, and $250 the next because nobody’s coming.  For top-end hotels that have on-site reservations desks, call and ask the manager when, during your travel window, the hotel will be emptiest and thus have the lowest rates.   Then ask something like, “If I come on that date, would there be a chance of an upgrade to ocean view?”

 


%d bloggers like this: