• France edition
 
France mulls Egypt tourist evacuation
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius. Photo: AFP

France mulls Egypt tourist evacuation

Published: 17 Aug 2013 09:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2013 09:45 GMT+02:00

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius indicated that a possible evacuation of French nationals was being kept under review.

"We will see how the situation evolves," he said, adding that, in the meantime, citizens in Egypt were "very strongly advised to stay at home."

Fears of nationwide unrest in the wake of a violent crackdown by the military-backed interim government earlier this week have resulted in a string of countries issuing official advice against all but essential travel to the land of the Pyramids.

Tourists already in the country are being told to stay in their hotels and resorts, even in areas untouched by the troubles, adding to a sense of insecurity that has hit the beleaguered sector hard.

Tourism is a vital component of the Egyptian economy, accounting for more than 11 percent of GDP before the current wave of political instability began with the Arab Spring in 2011.

Travel groups Thomas Cook and TUI announced Friday they were cancelling all holidays from Germany to Egypt until September 15th in light of the uncertain security situation.

Tour operators in Belgium, Jetair and Thomas Cook, cancelled all flights to Egypt until the end of August, the Belga news agency reported.

Britain extended an earlier travel warning to include the popular Red Sea resorts, which had been considered safe until this week's events.

It said specifically that British nationals in the resort of Hurghada should stay in their hotels, in line with advice received from the Egyptian police following a death in the city on Wednesday.

"Hurghada police advised tourists to remain in hotel grounds. We advise you to follow their advice," a statement from the Foreign Office said. 

"You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters."

British travel association ABTA estimates that there are currently around 40,000 Britons in Red Sea resorts such as Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, which is an eight-hour drive from Cairo.

Britain-based Thomas Cook said it had cancelled excursions from the Red Sea resorts to Cairo, Luxor, Moses's mountain and Saint Catherine's monastery.

But a spokeswoman added: "Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada are fully operational and holidaymakers are continuing to enjoy these popular resorts."

Germany and Spain followed suit with similar warnings.

Russia, which has more than 50,000 of its nationals currently on holiday in Egypt and a similar number booked to go there in the coming months, advised travel agents to stop selling packages to the north African state.

Tour operators in Finland, Norway and Sweden said they would be repatriating all their clients over the weekend, with many of them cutting short their holidays. The companies involved have also suspended further departures for Egypt for at least the next month and until mid-October in certain cases.

Italy, Austria and Belgium warned their citizens to avoid Egypt altogether.

Italy, which has an estimated 19,000 citizens in Egypt, strengthened an earlier alert to advise against all travel to the country, citing "a progressive deterioration of general security".

The Italian foreign ministry had earlier said the security situation in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula was "very precarious".

"There is a risk of terrorist attacks," it said.

The federation of Italian tour operators Fiavet said earlier this week that there had been an 80-percent drop in the number of Italians visiting Egypt this year.

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger told citizens already in Egypt they could continue their holidays, saying the "situation is relatively calm" at tourist resorts.

But, he warned, "the past few days have shown how quickly the situation can deteriorate."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sarkozy announces his return to French politics
Nicolas Sarkozy is back in French politics. Photo: AFP

Sarkozy announces his return to French politics

In a long-expected announcement, Nicolas Sarkozy said he will return to French politics with a bid for his party's presidency, which many believe is the first step toward a run at France's top elected office. READ  

Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
The days of the love locks craze in Paris may be numbered. Photo: AFP

Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze

'Love locks' have become such a problem in Paris the city has just installed panels intended to block couples from latching their passion to the town's infrastracture, leaving it straining under a dangerous load. READ  

Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
Photo: Heel: Shutterstock

Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack

A Paris taxi driver has died after angry passengers beat and stabbed him with stiletto high heel shoes during a drunken night out in the French capital. READ  

France launches first bombing runs on Isis
France got praise from US President Barack Obama for its decision to bomb Isis militants. Photo: Jean-Luc Brunet/AFP

France launches first bombing runs on Isis

France launched its first airstrikes on Friday against the Isis militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. Word of the bombing came less than 24 hours after French President François Hollande promised military action. READ  

French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops
The reports of one French crook's death were, it turns out, greatly exaggerated. Photo: Graves: Shutterstock

French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops

A wanted French criminal crafted a detailed plan to fake his own death, but there was just one problem: the police turned up at his 'funeral'. READ  

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote
French leaders heaved a sigh of relief over Scotland's 'no' vote. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote

There was plenty of relief in France's political classes on Friday after Scottish voters decisively rejected independence from the United Kingdom. One top minister said a 'yes ' vote would have hurt the European Union. READ  

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
American expat Lenny Kravitz talks about Paris. Photo: Lenny Kravitz/a>: Shutterstock

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'

American rocker Lenny Kravitz has spent the past nine years living on and off in Paris and in a recent interview talked about his passion for the City of Light and his latest projects. READ  

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care
A French nurse is to receive 'experimental' treatments against the disease. Photo: AFP

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care

The French nurse who contracted the Ebola virus while helping fight the historic outbreak in Africa is receiving 'experimental' treatments in a Paris hospital that doctors hope will save her life. READ  

France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq
France's president to hold press conference on Thursday. Photo: AFP

France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq

During a long-awaited press conference on Thursday, French President François Hollande said he has authorised air strikes in Iraq, joining a US-led effort to stop the lightning advance of Islamic State group militants there. READ  

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'
Here's 10 things not to miss for this weekend's 'Journées du Patrimoine'. Photo: AFP

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'

Once a year France opens the doors on tonnes of fascinating, bizarre and important places that are generally closed to the public. Here are 10 things not to miss this weekend for ‘Heritage days’. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se