Italy lifts travel warnings on Egyptian tourist destinations

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Sunday 17 Nov 2013

Italian foreign ministry says it is safe to visit Egypt's Red Sea coast, Luxor and Aswan

Tourists listen to a historian in front of Sphinx in Giza
Tourists listen to a historian in front of Sphinx in Giza (Photo: AP)

Italy has lifted its travel warnings on the Red Sea coast and Upper Egypt, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism announced on Saturday.

The Italian foreign ministry warned its citizens against travelling to Egypt in August, including the popular destinations along the Red Sea coast, in light of "general instability in the country."

The warning came days after Egypt's interim government initiated a widespread crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and members of his Muslim Brotherhood, beginning with the dispersal of sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August.

Chartered flights to Egypt resumed on Saturday, with a flight to Marsa Allam on the Red Sea coast in the Sinai Peninsula, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said.

The travel warnings were lifted after assurances were made to Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino in October, Zaazou added.

Close to 20 nations have lifted travel warnings to various parts of Egypt in the past months, among them the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Bulgaria, and Japan.

Last week, Egypt's government lifted a state of emergency, imposed along with a night-time curfew in 14 governorates, including Cairo and South Sinai, home to some of Egypt's most famous beach resorts, including Sharm El-Sheikh.

Italy is one of the most important sources of tourism to Egypt, with over 439,000 Italian visitors in the first eight months of 2013, according to official data.

Russia, which tops the list with over a million visitors to Egypt in the same period, has yet to lift its travel warning on the country. 


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