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Travel agencies drop Egypt as turmoil persists
Paige Le Pei Qi, S Puvneswary and Rohit Kaul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi, February 27, 2014

DEMAND for Egypt itineraries in Asia has flatlined as governments issue new advisories following the deaths of two South Korean tourists in the Sinai area. 


Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a second travel advisory on February 20 while its Singapore counterpart last released a notice on February 5.


Approached by TTG Asia e-Daily, Mayflower Acme Tours Kuala Lumpur’s deputy general manager, Abdul Rahman Mohamed, said: “We have not been selling Egypt for close to a year as there is no demand. When we see improvements in the local situation, we will start promoting the destination again.”


Chan Brothers Travel Singapore’s marketing and communications manager, Jane Chang, said: “Demand for travel to Egypt has (already) taken a steep dip year on year since the major Egypt unrest in January 2011, by over 90 per cent since 2011.” Travellers are going to Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Dubai instead.


Likewise Dynasty Travel's marketing communications director, Alicia Seah, said although 1,200 customers travelled to Egypt in 2010, only 200 to 300 did so in subsequent years.


Both agencies are no longer promoting Egypt, but Seah remarked that Dynasty would consider promoting Egypt for the year-end season, depending on the situation.


In India, travel consultants are also finding demand for Egypt “minimal”. Sharat Dhall, president of, commented: “Due to the current political unrest, travel to cities like Cairo, Alexandria and other urban centres has been affected, leading to a fall in demand. There has been minimal bookings and we expect the demand to remain the same in the coming days as well.”


Anil Kalsi, manging partner of Ambe World Travels New Delhi pointed out: “The unrest in Cairo has been going on for a long time and has resulted in cancellations and diversions from India, as to travellers here a secure environment is of utmost importance.”


Meanwhile Karan Anand, head, relationships at Cox & Relationships, noted that Egypt would lose whatever little business it is getting if the unrest continues. “The situation will force people to look at alternate destinations such as Turkey and South Africa.”


The Indian government has not issued a travel advisory for Egypt.


However, some agencies are still continuing with tours to conflict-ridden Egypt. Rakyat Travel Kuala Lumpur ran a tour to Egypt in December 2013 and has a four-day, full-board tour to Cairo coming up in March. “So far, we have not had any cancellations and we are monitoring the situation in Egypt carefully,” said Adam Kamal, general manager.


Egypt last year embarked on a quest to bring tourists back to the nation (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 17, 2013) and was upbeat on its tourism outlook for this year (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 23, 2014) before a resurgence in violence dimmed hopes of recovery in the near future.


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