Friday, February 28, 2014

Global Impact: Increasingly, European Governments are Issuing Travel Warnings on Red Sea Resorts

According to Lebanon's The Daily Star, Belgium warned tourists Friday (February 28) against traveling to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a "serious threat."

Foreign Minister Didier Reynders gave no details of the threat, although the travel warning stems from the bombing of a South Korean tour bus that killed three South Korean tourists and an Egyptian driver in south South Sinai earlier this month which was claimed by an al-Qaeda-inspired franchisee.

COMMENT: Presumably, similar warning issued by the German and Netherlands foreign ministries no doubt influenced Belgium to similarly warn its citizens.

Brussels had previously warned tourists against going to the Gulf of Aqaba. Thursday's warning therefore encompasses the entire Sinai region, the foreign minister said.

In the Sinai bus attack, the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group said it is "part of our economic war against this regime of traitors" in Egypt.

The Sinai and its coastline are popular with Western tourists and the area has largely avoided the violence rocking major Egyptian cities since a popular uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Foreign travelers choosing to ignore their governments' travel warnings re: Red Sea resorts should have a designated return ticket and a seat assignment from local area international  airports of Hurghada, Sharm el-Shiekh and Marsa Alam. Ideally, seat assignments should be in first or business class.