Holidays to Egypt – safe travel advice

If you’ve not yet booked your summer holiday, you may be one of the many Brits who are debating whether or not to book a trip to Egypt.

Famed for its high quality hotels and scorching temperatures, Egypt was a once popular holiday destination for British tourists. However, over the last 18 months, due to civil unrest, the country has fallen out of favour, not just with British tourists, but those from all around the world.

To win back the tourists, the Egyptian Government has invested heavily in advertising campaigns to reassure those considering an Egyptian holiday to come to their beautiful, historic country.

Yet, many are still concerned, wavering on the ‘do they, don’t they’ deliberation.

So the question that many of us are asking is: is Egypt safe for British tourists?

In short, some areas pose little risk, whilst others should be avoided for anything but essential travel. Read on for the latest advice on safe travel to Egypt.

Overall as a country, the current advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is that there is a high threat of terrorism. In certain parts of the country this threat is extremely high and as a result, only essential travel is advised.

Tourist Areas
Nevertheless, for the vast majority travelling to tourist areas, holidays are not exposed to any problems – in fact more than 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year.

Holidaymakers should  follow the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and not put themselves in vulnerable or dangerous situations; being mindful that care should always be taken.

The main tourist hotspots in Egypt are Sharm el Sheik and Hurghada. These areas are mostly trouble free. The Government, Egyptian Tourist Board and Hotels themselves have invested in security. Resort areas are heavily protected, and there are check points around the perimeter of towns, policed by the country’s Governorates.

Airports are also patrolled with security checks upon entry. Police in key towns and villages also carry out routine checks on vehicles.

Other areas that don’t pose the same high risk are Sharm el Maya, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq and are generally safe places for tourists.

Also note, that whilst areas to the west of the Nile Valley are not safe for travellers, tourist areas along the Nile river do not come under the ‘essential travel only’ or ‘do not travel’ banner issued by the FCO – these include Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings.

However, it is critical that you do not visit the following areas:

  • North Sinai

  • South Sinai

  • 50km radius of the Libyan border

  • West of the Nile Valley

  • Delta Regions

Tips On Keeping Safe
It is important to note the following advice, issued by the FCO, to help keep vigilant and safe when holidaying in Egypt.

  • Whilst the best advice is actually to stay in resort and in the safe confines of popular tourist areas that benefit from high levels of security.
  • If you do wander off the beaten track, you should avoid all protests, marches and demonstrations. These are very popular in Egypt, occurring with little or no warning - many are held on a Friday.
  • If you get caught up in any demonstrations, it is critical you vacate the area as quickly as possible.
  • Police try to control these events with water cannons, tear gas and even live ammunition. These are dangerous and terrifying events.
  • When out and about in Egypt, make sure you carry photographic identification with you at all times as you may need to prove your identify to officials.

Travel Insurance
If you are an adventurous traveller who is likely to go off on your own exploring the less touristy cities, towns and villages, it is worth giving consideration to the validity of your travel insurance. Some travel insurance companies have been known to dispute claims for travellers in areas that the FCO advises against travelling to.

That said, regardless of whether you stay in resort or not, it is crucial to ensure you have adequate travel insurance when taking any overseas trip, business or pleasure.

If you do decide to visit Egypt this year, don't forget to check the FCO Egypt travel advice page for up-to-date information before you travel.