|by Michelle Baran||Egypt, Emergencies||32|
The U.S. State Department has softened the wording of its Egypt travel warning, and consequently more travel companies are returning to the destination following the 18-day revolution earlier this year that led to a mass exodus of tourists.
The State Department now urges U.S. citizens to consider the risks rather than to avoid all non-essential travel to the North African country, which the previous warning recommended.
The travel warning, which is still a "warning" and has not yet been downgraded to an "alert" (for more on the difference see What to do when the State Department issues a travel alert), reports that the security situation in popular tourism destinations such as Luxor, Aswan, and the Red Sea resorts, are calm. Also, all airports are open and operating, but travelers should be in touch with their airlines or tour operators regarding flight schedules, the State Department advises.
The U.S. government also cautions travelers that "elements of the Egyptian government responsible for ensuring security and public safety are not fully reconstituted and are still in the process of being reorganized. Until the redeployment of Egyptian civilian police is fully restored, police response to emergency requests for assistance or reports of crime may be delayed."
Trafalgar Tours announced that it would be recommencing its Egypt program on May 1 "as events in Egypt continue to stabilize," the company said.
Trafalgar noted that it took into consideration the updated State Department travel warning to Egypt.
Most major tour operators have now said they will start up their Egypt programs again, including Globus, Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Central Holidays, Great Safaris, Abercrombie & Kent, Insight Vacations, Grand Circle Travel, Overseas Adventure Travel, and Isramworld.
Many have been able to renegotiate better rates in light of the dearth of tourists right now, and many are offering discounted pricing to the destination.
Trafalgar is offering discounts of up to $165 per person off their current brochure prices for land-only vacations; and Central Holidays is offering a $100 per person discount for new bookings made on any Egypt cruise or land program for travel in 2011.
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