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Egypt Safe to Travel article Egypt safety travel
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Egypt Safe to Travel article Egypt safety travel
by Joyce Carta

As you can imagine, I have been getting this question frequently since the attacks of 11 September. I thought I'd share my answer with you all here. Travel always entails some uncertainties, but then, so does life. (That's why we named our travel business "New Adventures.") Is it safe now to travel to Egypt?...I invite you to read my very well considered response to the question.

Honestly, I can tell you that were it not for business keeping me here in the States I would go back to Egypt now, just so that I could personally relate how safe it is. I know when people think of the region they think of the Israeli/Palestinian problems, but that isn't effecting and hasn't been effecting Egypt. I had clients who arrived in Cairo on 10 Sep, toured the country into the Sinai and left 29 Sep to go on to Jordan (where they had an equally wonderful time). I was in e-mail contact directly with them and also, of course, daily with our staff in Egypt and clients experienced no problems whatsoever, had a wonderful time and fell in love with the Egyptian people (this is not surprising, everyone falls in love with the Egyptian people...they are, well, lovable). The Egyptian people, the vast majority who are thoughtful and moderate in their views, like Americans enormously...we're very similar when it comes to friendliness, warmth and we share the same, sometimes silly, sense of humor.

And, of course, the way our trips are organized, private and escorted, matters as well. You travel in a private car, with 2 Egyptians: your private Egyptologist and your driver. You are as inconspicuous as it's possible for a Westerner to be. Our State Department has issued no travel warnings, advisories or alerts for Egypt (or Jordan, for that matter). The most recent issuance from the State Department concerning Egypt was a general Consular Information Sheet with the general overview travelers to the country should be aware of, and this was issued on 9 February 2001. Under the current world conditions the State Department's recommendation, and the recommendation of our Embassy in Cairo is: maintain a discrete profile, avoid large crowds or demonstrations, be alert about your surroundings and generally exercise prudence...and this is excellent advice no matter where or when you travel.

Air travel has probably never been safer than it is now. And the security precautions the Egyptian government has had in place to protect tourists for the last 5 years are impressive. There are metal detectors at the entries to all the sites, and at the hotel entryways, you see the military presence everywhere and over-the-road travel between certain cities tourists frequent has been by army escorted convoy. And there have been no problems. Tourism is one of the country's most important sources of hard currency, and besides not wanting any untoward incidents, Egypt is very pragmatic and wants in no way to jeopardize a vital economic benefit.

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Another real plus you can take advantage of by traveling there now is the fact that tourism has been off...and Egypt is a lot less crowded. October through April has always been the most popular time for a trip...the weather could not be better for sightseeing...and to be able to take advantage of the great weather when the crowds are off is an attractive combination. On the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism's and Egyptian Tourist Authority site there are two related articles of interest: "Update on Egypt Tourism" and "Why Egypt Tourism is Safe." I recommend you read them both.

And, quite frankly, I would never want to send guests over to my second favorite country in the world if I didn't have an excellent expectation that their time spent would be thoroughly and completely wonderful. Egypt is just too important to me, and too special a place, to sell short. So, I guess to answer the question...there's nothing going on in Egypt that would present a concern for the traveler. If seeing Egypt has always been your dream, this is a good time to turn the dream into reality.

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