Cheap late holidays and the Egypt effect

The FCO continues to say that travel to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada is safe so package holidays can continue – though most other holidays to Egypt will be cancelled because of the FCO’s ban against non-essential travel. The Red Sea resorts take by far of the majority of visitors so the extra numbers of people looking for a holiday at short notice will be quite limited.

However, new bookings to the Red Sea will, inevitably, reduce and this area is a major source of the supposed “late bargains” touted by the package tour companies. People looking for a late-booking will concentrate on other areas.

Then there is the possibility that the situation in Egypt will deteriorate and all travel will be banned by the FCO. This would immediately create a big problem for package tour companies as they would struggle to re-book people to Greece, Turkey and the Canaries.

In other words, if you are hoping to pick up a late bargain to one of these areas in the next few weeks, it might be wise to move quickly. Package tour companies have been caught with egg on their faces in the past and are now much more cautious about controlling their capacity so late deals are more limited – and, if the situation changed in Egypt, they could become very expensive overnight.

On the other hand, if the crisis in Egypt subsides quite quickly, then it is likely that the market will be flooded by special deals as the Egyptian trade seeks to regain any business temporarily lost.

And, whilst we accept the FCO’s comments that the Red Sea resorts are safe, it is just worth making a couple of points:

- The resorts are effectively fenced-in from the lawless lands outside. The Egyptian army has been fighting a losing battle in the last few years to control the terrorists and assorted bandits that control the area. With rather more to occupy them in the big cities, it is likely the army will be stretched making any effective control even more difficult.

- All the Red Sea resorts rely on supplies arriving by road from Cairo. Any disruption, or strike will be felt almost immediately. Maybe there are no corn flakes at breakfast which is not a disaster but a serious fuel shortage would be.


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