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» 06.03.2013 - Egypt court suspends planned election date
» 25.02.2013 - Opposition to boycott another Egypt election?
» 24.03.2011 - Still double standards in Egypt justice
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Egyptians split on Saturday's referendum
» 03.03.2011 - Egypt PM Shafiq resigns after protests
» 23.02.2011 - Exodus from Libya; foreigners targeted
» 11.02.2011 - It's over - Mubarak has left

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Politics | Travel - Leisure

Unrest spreads to Egypt tourist zones

Downtown Hurghada, Egypt

© Thomas Brenner/Flickr/afrol News
afrol News, 30 January
- Egypt authorities today for the first time urge tourists in hitherto calm Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada to respect the curfew. Military vehicles have entered the towns and shops are closing.

Reports from Sharm-el-Sheikh today agree on a change of mood in this major Sinai Peninsula tourist report. Even yesterday, as Cairo, Alexandria and Suez were exploding in riot, holidaymakers spent normal, quiet days at the beautiful Red Sea resort.

The resort was mentioned as the only Egyptian city where no protests or incidents had occurred during the six-day revolution against President Hosni Mubarak. But local residents and tourists were increasingly noting the lack of variety in goods, as all roads into Sharm-el-Sheikh have been closed. Hoarding has become widespread. Also, popular excursions to Cairo and the Nile Valley have been off limit.

Today, military vehicles are reported to have entered central parts of Sharm-el-Sheikh, for the first time since the Israeli-Egyptian peace in 1979, which had demilitarised the Sinai Peninsula.

In addition, a delicate rumour is causing tensions among many local residents in Sharm-el-Sheikh. Several local workers claim to have seen President Mubarak in the tourist resort, fearing he may have taken refuge in this quiet corner of Egypt.

From Hurghada, also a Red Sea resort but on the Egyptian mainland, reports are scarcer. Tourists report that, until today, daily life has been normal and quiet

Slogans against the Mubarak regime written on Cairo shops

© Ramy Raoof/Flickr/afrol News
in this decentralised resort.

But Egyptian state media today have warned tourists that the curfew, as from today, also would have to be respected by holidaymakers at the country's two major resorts. Meanwhile, the popular broadcaster Al-Jazeera has been shut down today, leaving locals and tourists without independent information.

Tour operators today have been trying to reach out to all tourists in Sharm-el-Sheikh and Hurghada, urging them not to leave their hotel rooms during the curfew, despite a seemingly quiet atmosphere.

Several international tour operators are now offering Egypt visitors to cancel their planned holidays and some even offer tourists to be evacuated from the country. TUI and Thomas Cook have offered free cancellation of trips from Germany and the UK. Some German operators even have cancelled all trips to Egypt during the next week.

Most European countries so far have only issued travel warnings to the Egyptian cities Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, meaning that travellers do not have the right to freely cancel trips to resorts not included in that warning. Tourists in Sweden this morning were denied a free cancellation of their trip. But the trend is for governments to issue travel warnings for Egypt as a whole.

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