Travel to Egypt a good or a bad idea? –Some legal considerations.
Recent plane crash in Egypt has led to the suspension of flights to and from the UK
Intending Travellers will find the information on the Department of Foreign affairs & Trade website most helpful.
For ease & convenience we have reproduced the information from the said site as it appeared on the 6th of November 2015. Travellers should check the site on a regular basis for updates and also liaise with their tour operator.
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusion and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
We are currently advising against all non-essential travel to Egypt with a number of exceptions (see below).
Latest travel advice
Any Irish citizen scheduled to travel to or already in Sharm El Sheikh should contact their tour operator or airline for further information. Citizens should note the direction issued by the Irish Aviation Authority on 5 November to Irish airline operators not to operate to/from Sharm el-Sheikh airport or in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula airspace until further notice. Citizens should also be mindful that UK flights are currently suspended and of the possibility of similar directions by other aviation authorities which may affect scheduled flights. Citizens in Sharm el-Sheikh should make their travel plans in coordination with their travel or tour company.
Irish citizens are advised to avoid-non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to a heightened threat of terrorist incidents, including targeted attacks against foreigners, and a continuing threat of civil unrest. The following exceptions apply:
- The Red Sea coastal resort of Hurghada and other Red Sea resorts outside the Sinai peninsula, where Irish citizens are advised to arrive and depart by air and to strictly avoid travelling outside the resort;
- Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel (including cruises between them) where Irish citizens are advised to exercise caution and arrive and depart by air.
As a result of growing association between local extremist groups and the Iraq/Syria-based group known as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), there is a heightened risk across the Middle East region as a whole at this time of terrorist attacks against Westerners and Western interests. Although there are additional security measures in place to protect the country’s major tourist resorts and sites there is a risk that tourist areas and other places frequented by foreigners may be specifically targeted by terrorists planning future attacks.
In recent months numerous shooting and bomb attacks and other terrorist incidents have taken place across Egypt, including in Cairo. Although the majority of attacks are targeted at the security services they have involved civilian casualties. There have also been a number of incidents and attacks specifically targeting foreign interests and nationals in Egypt. These include a bomb attack on the Italian Consulate in Cairo on 11 July and the abduction on 22 July and subsequent suspected execution in August of a Croatian national. Islamic State claimed responsibility for both incidents.
There is a heightened and countrywide threat of kidnapping in Egypt at the present time. In view of this and the overall security situation in the country Irish citizens already in Egypt are advised to take sensible precautions with regard to their personal safety and travel within the country. Long journeys by road should be undertaken only if absolutely necessary and should be planned with the utmost care and precaution. All travel into desert areas (including roads leading to them) should be strictly avoided. Irish citizens should also avoid travel to the vicinity of major security/police or government buildings and state university campuses which in the past have been the scene of violent clashes between police and student protesters. Irish citizens should ensure that that they carry valid i.d. with them at all times.
Egypt has experienced frequent political protests and demonstrations since the 2011 Revolution. Demonstrations can occur at any time and can turn violent with little warning. There have been a significant number of violent sexual assaults against women during demonstrations. As a result of legislative changes anyone participating in protests or demonstrations can expect to receive a lengthy prison sentence. We strongly advise Irish citizens who are currently in Egypt to avoid all protests and demonstrations. If caught up in a demonstration, Irish citizens should not attempt to take photographs and should leave the area immediately.
We strongly advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai including the Taba-Suez Road where the security situation is extremely dangerous. Recent months have seen a serious escalation in the number of security incidents and terrorist attacks in Northern Sinai where the Egyptian army is engaged in ongoing military operations against militant groups. A state of emergency was declared and a curfew is currently in operation following a bomb attack in October 2014 which killed 30 soldiers.
The state of emergency has been extended and is still in force and a curfew is also currently in operation. On 1 July 2015 a series of coordinated attacks by armed militants affiliated to the Islamic State in North Sinai resulted in a large number of deaths of militants, soldiers and civilians. The vicinity of the Rafah border crossing is particularly dangerous at the moment and the border crossing is closed most of the time. Irish citizens are strongly advised not to seek to travel to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.
There are heightened concerns about the security situation in the desert areas close to the Libyan border at this time. Irish citizens are strongly advised against travel to this area of the country.
The movement and presence of all foreign nationals in areas adjacent to the Libyan, Sudanese and Israeli borders is now restricted under the terms of a new Presidential decree which mandates the armed forces to take measures to safeguard the security of these areas. Border areas are now classified as either “forbidden” or “restricted” and travel to these areas will only be allowed if a special permit is obtained from the armed forces.
Irish journalists intending to travel to Egypt should ensure that they register with the Embassy and obtain the necessary permits from the Egyptian authorities in advance of travel.
There have been a number of serious sexual assaults against female tourists in the Red Sea resorts over the past year. Women, particularly those travelling on their own in Egypt, may be subjected to verbal or physical harassment
Register with us
If you’re visiting or planning to stay in Egypt, you should register your details with the Department of Foreign affairs you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like civil disturbances a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Egypt before your trip.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Contact the Embassy
If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Cairo
If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:
- Your name
- The nature of your problem
- Where you are now
- Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)
We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.
From a legal perspective we would recommended the following
-Follow the government advice
-Avoid self- organised trips, travel under a package scheme provides you with a higher level of protection and aces to compensation
-Check with your travel agents what protections are in place re refunds if intended holidays have to be cancelled
-Get confirmation from your travel insurer as what their policy does & does not cover, ask for this in writing!