UK & World News
Egypt Travel Warning To 40,000 British Tourists
Thousands of British holidaymakers are being told to stay in their hotels in Egypt because of the continuing violence across the country.
Holiday firms are continuing to run flights to popular Egyptian resorts despite the ongoing unrest in the country, although companies in Germany and France are avoiding the area.
Some of those arriving back from Cairo witnessed the violence, which has led to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to warn against all but essential travel to much of Egypt, except for the Red Sea resorts where it said enhanced security measures were in place to protect tourists.
British tourists in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, where violent clashes led to the death of one person earlier this week, have been advised to remain in the grounds of their hotels.
Speaking to Sky News from her hotel, holidaymaker Sally Asling said that at the moment she felt safe.
She said: "The hotel is high security and the airport is high security. It is quicker for me to get back to London than drive to Cairo. You have to keep perspective on it.
"There was a demonstration a mile down the road two days ago. It is unsettling hearing how quickly things become volatile and kick off. It is safe, but how safe?"
The FCO guidance also warns of "a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations", but the advice stops short of that issued by the French and German governments, which have told nationals not to travel to Egypt.
One British woman returning from Cairo at Manchester Airport told Sky News: "It was frightening, just because we were unable to go outside ... we stayed indoors most of the time with family, but we weren't able to go into the streets or anything like that.
"We travelled to Hurghada on bus and then we came back to Cairo and the bus had to turn around on a bridge because there was a fire at the other end."
UK travel organisation Abta estimates there are around 40,000 Britons in Egypt at the moment.
Tour operators Thomson and First Choice have 11,769 British holidaymakers in the country, many of them in Sharm el Sheikh.
A spokeswoman for the two companies said: "We are working with the FCO and monitoring the situation closely in Egypt.
"The majority of our customers are in Sharm el Sheikh which is a considerable distance - indeed, an eight-hour drive - from Cairo.
"There have been no related incidents in Sharm el Sheikh or any of the other popular Red Sea tourist areas."
Thomson and First Choice operate to four Egyptian resorts - Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam.
Thomson Airways had three return flights to Sharm el Sheikh on Friday and two to Hurghada. On Saturday, it has four return flights to Sharm el Sheikh, and five return flights to on Sunday.
In light of the FCO travel advice, Thomson Cruises has changed its itinerary for an Egypt & the Holy Land voyage on the Thomson Celebration vessel starting next Monday.
Luxury holiday company Kuoni has cancelled all its Egypt excursions for the next 30 days over the security concerns.
The company said it was now contacting clients with bookings to restricted areas of Egypt within the next 21 days to offer them alternative holiday destinations.
Thomas Cook also has several thousand UK tourists in Red Sea resorts and is continuing to operate flights to the area, but has cancelled excursions to Cairo, Luxor, Moses Mountain and St Catherine's Monastery.
The FCO advice reads: "If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain.
"If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. You should avoid crowds.
You should follow the regulations set by the local authorities and obey curfews. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times."
It adds: "You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don't attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protestors.
"There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked."