31 October marked exactly two years since the bombing of flight KGL9268, which killed all 224 people on board when it crashed over the northern Sinai desert.
When the flight took off from Sharm-el-Sheikh, the popular resort town was a hub of economic prosperity in Egypt, but it was soon to become a ‘ghost town’ in which local hotels and businesses struggled to survive.
British nationals visiting Sharm-el-Sheikh at the time were brought back home – a process which took until 7 November that year – and since then there have been no more flights between the town and any UK airport.
FCO Travel Advice
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advice against all but essential travel in place for air travel to and from Sharm-el-Sheikh (or ‘Sharm’ as it’s known by many) but does not advise against travel to the town itself. This means that travel insurance policies – including Safe Journey – would be invalid if you were to fly to Sharm directly, but valid if you get there by any other form of transport, such as car or boat.
Some travellers are getting around this – literally – by flying into other airports in Egypt and then commuting to Sharm. This seems to be working, and while Sharm is certainly not back to its old self, it is getting a little more lively.
Many continue to avoid the town however, and are opting for other sunny Egyptian shores – the “Red Sea Riviera” is a hot spot which gives visitors access to world class diving and snorkelling, with the mystical pyramids and Sphinx within easy reach.
Threat of Terrorism
The FCO advises that the risk of terrorism in Egypt is “very high” and that attacks occur almost daily in North Sinai. South Sinai is also said to experience more attacks than main centres such as Cairo, but these have mostly targeted police or the military.
Most attacks in Egypt are aimed at government, police or military targets, but this can affect civilians and travellers. In some cases, attacks have had religious targets, such as Egypt’s Coptic Christian community.
Acts of terrorism are primarily carried out by a branch of Daesh (Isis/IS/Islamic State) which is currently losing its stronghold in the Middle East. This is unfortunately expected to cause more attempted attacks as members try to make a “last stand” or create the illusion of a strong presence. The situation continues to change, and it is highly unpredictable.
It’s also worth noting that Egypt shares a border with Syria, and instability can of course cross borders. If you do plan to visit a resort in Egypt, we would suggest doing some research on its exact location, as well as its security measures – just to be sure.
Is It Worth Going?
We have seen some amazing specials advertised for all-inclusive holidays in Egypt, with flashy “half price” banners and tantalising “from £95” promises, but it’s important to compare apples with apples… are these holidays really that much cheaper than what you can get in Europe?
We looked at an all-inclusive 7-night trip for two adults, in a 3-4 star resort.
The option in Hurghada on the Red Sea came up as £464 per person – not much less than you would spend on an Algarve holiday (£495 per person) – while a similar stay in Cyprus came in at £395 per person. Interesting! (We’re not sure what you get for the advertised £95 but when we clicked on that ad, we couldn’t find anything close to that price.)
Wherever you book your next beach holiday, make sure you do your research and purchase the appropriate travel insurance at the time that you book your trip. You can add comprehensive terrorism cover with Safe Journey from only £4.96 per person for those 7 nights/8 days, and it will include the choice to cancel if there’s an act of terrorism within 40 miles of your destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure date.
Please note, the information above is only a summary of cancellation cover. You’ll find the full details here – along with information about all the other cover included in every Safe Journey policy, and our full terms, conditions and exclusions.