Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, August 15, 2013
Holidaymakers in one of Egypt’s most popular Red Sea resorts have been told to remain in their hotel as the political crisis engulfing the country continues to escalate.
According to a report by Travelmole, the travel industry website, guests at the Iberotel Aquamarine in Hurghada have been warned not to leave the property.
One TripAdvisor user, who is currently staying at the hotel, published an update on the website’s forum this morning, claiming that letters had been posted through her bedroom door by her travel company and local tourist police.
“I am now (August 15) staying in Iberotel Aquamarine and we have [had a] letter through [our] room door from Thomson and tourist police telling us not to leave the hotel and all excursions outside hotel are cancelled”, she said, added that she feels “safe” but “unsettled”.
Others on the forum have expressed concerns about upcoming trips to the region, and asked for advice about whether to cancel.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook has confirmed that all excursions from Sharm El Sheikh, on the Sinai peninsular, have been temporarily halted, including trips to St Catherine's Monastery. It has also suspended in-resort excursions, including diving and snorkelling trips.
Despite the violent protests that have affected Egypt in recent months, culminating in a month-long state of emergency being declared this week, the Red Sea resorts have been largely immune. While the Foreign Office has advised holidaymakers against all but essential travel to Egypt since early July, its warning has not yet been extended to cover the Red Sea governorate, which includes the popular destinations of Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Dahab, Taba and Nuweiba.
However, it is advising Britons to follow regulations set by local authorities, and to carry identification at all times. A curfew was imposed across the Red Sea region last night from 1900 until 0600 local time.
As the Foreign Office has not advised against travel to the Red Sea, anyone due to visit will not be able to cancel their trip free of charge.
A Thomson spokesman said it was working with the Foreign Office to ensure its guests were safe.
"The Foreign Office is not currently advising British nationals to leave the country and the advice has not changed for Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam," he added.
"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."
A Thomas Cook spokesman said: "Our experienced teams on the ground assure us that no tourist areas at the Red Sea have been affected by the recent demonstrations, bar an evening curfew that was introduced last night (August 14) and observed. They are fully operational and holidaymakers are continuing to enjoy the popular resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada."