Muscat: The ongoing unrest in Egypt has taken its toll on the travel and tourism of the country. Even during the Eid holidays, many people preferred to travel to Turkey, junking their plans for Egypt.
Taking a cue from the international tour operators, their counterparts in Oman have also been advising their clients to avoid travelling to Egypt. Considering the current political turmoil that Egypt is in, tour operators say it is quite risky to travel to that country during vacation. In the wake of the escalating violence in Egypt, Europe's largest tour operator TUI (Touristik Union International) and its rival Thomas Cook have cancelled all holidays booked by German customers to Egypt until mid-September following a travel advisory from the German government.
"The tour bookings to Egypt from Oman were seasonal. As it is a culturally and historically rich country, many school students used to visit the place, but since the unrest has been continuing for a long time now, everyone is avoiding travelling to Egypt," Raji Demonte, general manager at Universal Travels and Tourism Agencies in Oman, told the Times of Oman. Considering the current situation, it is quite risky to travel to Egypt for holidays even though it is quite a good destination, "we are discouraging our clients from travelling to Egypt," Raji added.
During this Eid, many chose to travel to Turkey, instead of travelling to Egypt, she added.
A top official of the Mezoon Travels, the general sales agent (GSA) for Egypt Air in Oman, also voiced the same opinion. "The stunning, colossal monuments of ancient Egypt never fail to astonish. Egypt is a world of wonder, but we feel that the present situation is not conducive to tourism. There are only a few bookings now, and with each passing day, their number too is coming down," Renny Johnson, the executive manager at Mezoon Travels, told the Times of Oman.
Even though TUI and Thomas Cook have halted new bookings, the companies said holidaymakers who are already in Egypt would be able to stay until the end of their trip.
The TUI in Europe said at the moment, bookings for its British customers for the Red Sea resorts could go ahead as planned, adding that the "safety of our customers is always our number one priority."
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook has cancelled all excursions from the Red Sea resorts to the tourist areas of Cairo, Luxor, Moses Mountain and Saint Catherine's monastery. Germany's Foreign Ministry advised against all travel to Egypt "in view of the current situation and the unfortunate of developments." Travellers are especially being warned and asked to avoid Cairo and other main tourist centres in Egypt, such as Luxor, Assuan and the Nile Delta. The governments of Russia, France, Spain and Italy have also advised travel agents to stop selling holiday packages for these locations.