Is it safe to travel to Egypt now? Updated advice from the British Government
The contentious demonstration in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday, July 29, is making headlines in the UK and around the world. The demonstration was designed to show cohesiveness among Egypt’s many opposition movements. But instead, observers say, it turned into a show of strength for the Egypt’s militant Islamists. See Al Jazeera video on the left for an eyewitness account.
Because more and more people have been scared off from visiting Egypt since the anti-Mubarack riots early this year, if you can travel now, you will find some great bargains. But the main question on the minds of would-be tourists now is not the bargains but safety.
Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Below is the official statement updated by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Click here for advice from the US State Department on travel advice and warning for visitors considering a trip to Egypt.
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Travel Summary and the Safety and Security – Political Situation section (clashes in Abbasiya district of Cairo on 23/24 July; further demonstration planned for 29 July). The overall level of this advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Egypt.
Large demonstrations have been ongoing in Cairo since 8 July. On 23-24 July over 300 people were injured in violent clashes in the Abbasiya district of Cairo. Demonstrators are currently occupying Tahrir Square in Cairo and no traffic is permitted through the Square.
A further large demonstration is planned for Friday 29 July in and around Tahrir Square, Cairo. There are also reports of demonstrations planned for Roxy Square, Heliopolis, Cairo, and in Alexandria. The possibility remains of demonstrations in other districts and cities across Egypt including Suez.
Between 25 January and 11 February there were major disturbances in Cairo and other locations across Egypt, including Alexandria, Suez, North Sinai, Rafah, the Delta region and some areas of Upper Egypt, including Luxor. Since 11 February, sporadic, and sometimes violent outbreaks, have occurred in a number of locations in Egypt including the major cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. See Safety and Security – Political Situation.
The situation across Egypt is unpredictable and events can develop quickly. We advise you to keep up to date with our travel advice, monitor the local media and stay in touch with your travel company if you have one.
You should observe instructions and advice given by local security authorities and avoid public gatherings and disturbances. There have been reports of sexual assaults on women during some demonstrations in Tahrir Square. There have also been a number of arrests during demonstrations, including British and other foreign nationals. We advise that you avoid all demonstrations and the area around Tahrir Square.
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is now open from 09:00 to 17:00 on a daily basis, except for Fridays and public holidays. Male holders of Palestinian passports aged between 18 and 40 will need to seek prior clearance before entering Egypt. Non-Palestinian nationals crossing into Gaza from Egypt will still need clearance. For the latest requirements on crossing from Egypt to Gaza, delivering aid or entering for humanitarian purposes, you should contact the Egyptian Embassy in London. See Safety and Security – Local Travel – Border Areas.
There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt, including in Sinai. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See Safety and Security – Terrorism.
1,455,906 British Nationals visited Egypt in 2010 (Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism). Most visits are trouble free. See General – Consular Assistance Statistics. The majority of consular cases occur in Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh.
You should carry some form of photographic ID at all times. A copy of your passport is sufficient.
Egyptian society is conservative and women should dress modestly. See Local Laws and Customs.
Click here for part two of the UK goverment’s warning about travel to Egypt.