Is it safe to travel to Egypt? Government safety rating and terrorism risk for visiting Brits

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 11:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 12:24 pm
Much of Egypt is still safe to visit according to government advice (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following the frightening news of a tourist bus being targeted by terrorists in Egypt, those with holidays booked to the home of the Pyramids may be worried about how safe the country is.

The government issues travel advice for those visiting abroad from the United Kingdom, and regularly updates it following acts of terror or violence.

How safe is Egypt?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have different ratings for the different parts of the country, with the capital Cairo and the resort of Sharm el Sheikh both currently deemed safe to visit.

However, parts of Egypt are particularly dangerous, according the FCO.

The government advises against all travel to North Sinai (the part of Egypt between Cairo and Israel) due to the “significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces”.

The Foreign Office also advises against all but essential travel to South Sinai, but give exception of the resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

This area includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq.

However, the government advises against all but essential air travel to or from Sharm el Sheikh, due to the deaths of more than 220 people after a flight from the airport to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai, with Russian authorities stating the crash was caused by an explosive device.

The area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, which are the most populous, are also deemed to be safe only for essential travel.

Terrorist threat

The threat of a terror attack in Egypt is described as “very likely” according to the FCO’s advice.

Their website states, “Although most attacks occur in Northern Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country.”

The government advises visitors to avoid crowded places and gathering, especially during religious festivals or around religious sites due to terrorist groups calling for attacks during these periods.

Egyptian authorities have a significant security presence across the country with armed police at important sites, infrastructure points such as railways and airports, and road checkpoints.

Daesh-Sinai is the most active terrorist group in Egypt, but the number of terrorist attacks in the country has reduced since 2015.

Is it safe to visit?

Like many countries in the world, the people of Egypt live under the threat of terrorism but much of the country, especially the most popular destinations, are not considered as likely to be targeted as other parts of the country.

You can still safely fly to Cairo and Hurghada direct from London, Birmingham and Manchester.

As with any country, there is always a risk that something might happen or go wrong, but as long as you check the official FCO advice before you book and travel, you will still be able to enjoy the beautiful sites Egypt has to offer.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman.