Travel agencies to pull out Egypt tourists

Major travel agencies have all decided to halt flights to Egypt and bring back any of their customers who are already there

As tensions on the streets of Cairo continue to mount, a number of Danish travel agencies have decided to heed government warnings and bring their customers back home and end flights to Egypt.

Travel agencies, including major tour operators Star Tour, Apollo, Spies and Atlantis, have all decided to cease flights to Egypt and bring back travellers sometime in the next few days. The move will affect thousands of holidays.

The decision comes after the Foreign Ministry advised against all unnecessary trips to Egypt, including Cairo and popular tourist destinations on the Red Sea, including Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba.

The question of whether to cancel Egyptian holidays had divided the travel industry, and many travel agencies were interpreting “unnecessary trips” differently.

Travel agency association Dansk Rejsebureauforening said yesterday that it should be up to the tourists themselves to decide whether to go, as long as they were properly informed of the situation.

“The Foreign Ministry has decided to tell people to exercise caution, whereas the UK has not advised against travelling,” Lars Thykier, the head of Dansk Rejsebureauforening, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I believe that it is up to the travellers to decide if they want to go there, as long as they are well-informed about the conditions.”

Rejsearrangører i Danmark, another travel agency group, has chosen to heed the Foreign Ministry’s warning and has advised all their member companies to drop their Egypt trips for now.

“We always follow the Foreign Ministry’s advice,” Henrik Specht, the head of Rejsearrangører i Danmark, said. “It’s nice to have objective criteria for when we can and cannot send people abroad. It would cause problems if some continued sending guests there when Denmark, Norway and Sweden all advise against doing so.”

A number of agencies have written on their websites that all flights to Egypt through them will be cancelled until sometime in October.

Aside from issuing the warning, the government also decided to cut development aid ties with Egypt yesterday in a bid to urge the military to end the month-long state of emergency that followed the July 3 ousting of former president Mohammed Morsi.