Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, July 17, 2013
British holidaymakers are steering clear of Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, new figures suggest, despite the region remaining unaffected by recent social unrest.
Although the Foreign Office is still currently advising against all but essential travel to most of Egypt, due to the risk of further violent protests following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, its warning does not extend to the Red Sea resorts – which include Taba, Dahab and Hurghada, as well as Sharm El Sheikh.
However, Britons appear to be adopting a cautious approach. This week TripAdvisor reported a 20 per cent drop in traffic to reviews of hotels in the area, while Multicom, the travel technology specialist that supports travel companies such as lowcostholidays.com, easyJet and Thomas Cook, said bookings to Egypt had fallen by nearly two-thirds.
“Despite the Foreign Office’s guidance offering some reassurance to those heading to the Red Sea, it seems that many UK travellers have opted for caution and put their plans on hold while the crisis in Egypt unfolds,” said a TripAdvisor spokesman.
Those travellers that do retain confidence in the Red Sea may be able to take advantage of some excellent offers. Last week Telegraph Travel reported that average hotel prices in several Red Sea resorts have fallen sharply in recent weeks. A one-night stay during July will cost £43 on average in Dahab, £73 in Taba, and £71 in Hurghada, compared to £56, £86 and £77 respectively this time last year.
The ongoing heat wave in Britain may also be contributing to the fall in visitors to Egypt. According to Steve Endacott, the chief executive of On Holiday Group, which sells flights, beach holidays and city breaks, the hot weather has led to a fall in bookings for overseas holidays of more than 20 per cent.
The Foreign Office issued its advisory two weeks ago, forcing tour operators to cancel hundreds of trips to destinations including Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria. Affected holidaymakers are entitled to a full refund.
Independent travellers to mainland Egypt can go ahead with their trip, should they wish to do so, but may face difficulty obtaining adequate insurance. Airlines and hotels are not legally required to offer a refund, but most carriers may be willing to let fliers postpone their trips.
Should anyone due to visit one of the Red Sea resorts wish to cancel their trip, they will not be able to do so free of charge.