Sharm el Sheikh

German operators cancel holidays again

Leading German tour operators have cancelled all departures to Sharm el Sheikh until April 30 due to the foreign ministry’s continued advice against travel to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

Tour operators had already cancelled departures to the Red Sea resort until mid-March following the recent advice from the German foreign ministry. Now they have stopped all holidays there for the next six weeks as well, effectively ending the resort’s winter season on the German market. The move affects customers of TUI, Thomas Cook, Alltours, FTI, ETI and Phoenix Reisen who can cancel their holidays or re-book to alternative destinations free of charge.

The reasons for the German foreign ministry’s tougher travel advice remain unclear, although media have speculated that there are fears of potential terrorist attacks on tourist targets. The stepped-up advisory followed a fatal terrorist attacks on tourists in Taba early last month. In contrast, tourists from countries such as the UK or Russia can still holiday in Sharm el Sheikh as their governments do not have similar advice against travel to the region.

Egyptian tourism minister Hisham Zaazou used his press conference at ITB last week to hit out at Berlin’s travel advisory and held a meeting with German government officials to urge them to rethink their approach. Zaazou told fvw: “The situation is awkward because while the German government is saying that it’s okay to go to Hurghada, it is also saying ‘don’t go to Sharm’, and this casts a negative shadow over Egypt.”