Egypt Pyramids of Giza Adobestock John Smith

AITO urges calm after Egypt blast

AITO chairman, Derek Moore, has released a statement following a roadside bomb exploded in Egypt over the weekend.

The bomb targeted a tourist bus outside a museum that is under construction in the al-Haram district, near the Pyramids of Giza, with at least 16 people, including some South African nationals, injured. 

“There is no doubt that it’s a setback for Egypt, just as things seemed to be settling down somewhat – but it’s important to remember that this attack is in an area that represents but a small section of the enormous range of cultural treasures and sites of what is a large country," Mr Moore said.  “Terrorism is something that we’ve all lived with for a long time now, unfortunately – at home and when travelling abroad. Discussing this with fellow Council Member of AITO Jono Vernon Powell from Nomadic Thoughts, we agreed that, aside from the tragedy heaped upon innocent tourists and local stakeholders, the resilience of destinations is very encouraging. In the last year we have seen terrorist attacks in tourist destinations such as Indonesia, Belgium, Jordan, Holland, Egypt, Australia, Morocco, Kenya, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Unless there is a subsequent FCO Travel advice warning against ‘all but non-essential travel’, by and large - in AITO’s experience, as well as across the wider travel industry - these destinations have bounced back remarkably quickly.

“The truth is, we think, that the public has become more aware of the statistically very low chances of being involved in such an incident, and less guided by terrorist sensationalism and wall-to-wall media coverage. Personally, I am confident that the Egyptian authorities are doing everything they can to minimise the chance of any repeat incidents; they understand, of course, the vital need to give confidence both to visitors and to the Governments of those countries from which tourists travel to visit Egypt,” he added.

AITO has 12 member companies which organise trips to Egypt.

At the time of writing, no individual or organisation had claimed responsibility for the blast, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice for tourists to Egypt has not been updated. The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the North Sinai governate, except for the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, where security was stepped up considerably after the 2005 terror attack. Additionally, the FCO advises against all but essential travel to the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, apart from the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and the resort town of Marsa Matruh on the Mediterranean coast. Crowded places and gatherings, including in and around religious sites and during religious festivals, should also be avoided, and extra care taken on local holiday weekends, according to the FCO. However, the FCO says that most visits to Egypt are "trouble-free".

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