It is not easy to follow Egyptian news, as events are unfolding at an accelerated pace. On June 30, the media from around the world met in Cairo, on Tahrir Square, literally “Liberation Square” in order to bring us live this uprising. The images of popular gatherings quickly gave way to images of violence ... Since August 21, when the cameras were focused on Syria, almost no more information on television channels or in the newspapers. We invite you through this article to take stock of the situation in this country that we, the divers, love so much.
HURGHADA: REALITY IN IMAGES
Images taken by Steven SURINA on September 5, 2013
THE VIEW OF THE RESIDENTS
SYLVIE TURPIN SURINA: ALYZED DIVING
“We have NEVER been worried on the shores of the Red Sea since Morsi's dismissal. There were indeed demonstrations but they took place in a calm and good mood. For the rest, I have ABSOLUTELY NOT CHANGED my way of life, nor my habits: I still do my shopping at midnight or 1am….
We had a few cancellations, 1 person coming from Belgium, 2 on the last BDE cruise and a group of 15 Divers in daily, it was their agency who advised them not to come… ..!
I get a few reservations but it's the CATA compared to last year over the same period. For us the months of September, October and November are the peak season and clearly this is not the case! Small flat on the cruise part, which remains quite spared for the moment.
Sylvie Turpin (in the foreground on the left, in full decompression ...)
I am devastated by the attitude of the media regarding what they broadcast! Certainly, they must do their job and try as best as possible to relay the information, but there they let loose on the 2 main cities of Egypt, namely Cairo and Alexandria, we saw NO IMAGE OR INTERVIEW (EXCEPT BFM ) coming from seaside resorts, like Hurghada, or even from people who were in Luxor to make a real counterbalance of the general and economic situation in the country!
It is US, the residents, who have posted photos, short films, posts via social networks to play down what the news was saying !!!!
We have NO INTEREST in lying and I would have taken a direct flight home if my kids and I had been worried once! I am not unconscious… .. once again under cover of a business, as I have read from some divers, (who incidentally have a very short memory… ..!).
I hope this situation will not last too long… It would only be a fair turnaround to help Egypt move towards a democracy for which the people have made a REVOLUTION and continue to fight today. hui! ”
HELENE PARISSE: DIVING ATTITUDE
“We have been living in Hurghada for 17 years now, feel good there, in any case much safer than in Paris or Marseille. Egypt is a country on the move, like many places in the world. We followed all of this… but from a distance in the end: apart from rumors, calls from relatives, worried emails from divers, what did we really experience? One or two completely peaceful demonstrations and that's it.
Hélène PARISSE and her children (in the photo, not all of them are her own ...)
We have said it over and over again, we will say it again, Hurghada is very far from Cairo. Our everyday life remains the same: we go to work, we do our shopping, our children go to school, on weekends at the beach… The Exocet is released every week in the summer, with divers, sometimes with the family.
If the situation here was such that the media believe in Europe, we would be the first to send at least our children safely to France in our families. We are not suicidal ...
We are lucky, we had quite a few cancellations after all. Places were still available in October and November… The positive side is that everyone generally complains that the Exocet is always full. For once, we have a few places to offer this fall! Take advantage, there are quite a few who have already left… ”
ERIC BELLOIN: AQUARIUS
“As often, the media make more noise than reality. Especially in mid-August which was not rich in international events.
1/ I would say that there are 2 Egypt or rather that there were 2 Egypt. The first Cairo, Alexandria, Port Saïd and the second the coast of the Red Sea where nothing has happened, where nothing is happening and where nothing will happen.
It should be noted that the movements of demonstration are practically null since several days.
Personally, what has been done is the best thing that can happen to Egypt, the country is getting off to a good start.
2/ The situation has changed, before I did 1 swimming kilometer a day, now I have time to make 2. Otherwise nothing has changed!
It is exceptionally good, not too hot 30 / 35 ° with a little wind, it's perfect!
Divers who complain about seeing too many people on the Hurghada sites should take the opportunity of the promotions and this period to have a pleasant and safe stay at a lower cost.
3/ AQUARIUS had very few cancellations, some due to flight suppression and not the will of the divers. We have, certainly at a small pace, reservations.
Eric BELLOIN (on the right…)
What is certain is that the divers who will come will be surprised by the calm - even more than usual, because less tourists - at the airport, during transfers and in hotels, I do not even speak cruises.
I always tell customers that the more I try to convince someone to come to Egypt, the less I'll get there. What is certain is that I live in Hurghada with my wife and my 3 children and that we are very happy here: I feel safer in the Red Sea than in Paris. I am familiar with 2 places.
We are expecting last minute bookings and are very confident for 2014 as the Red Sea remains by far the best value for money and divers know it. They have always been the last to cancel their stay and the first to return to Egypt. Life is all about opportunity, and this time is one of them. ”
MOMOX: DUNE RED SEA
“Our habits have not changed. Unfortunately, we have more time to party ...
We have some cancellations due to the suppression of flights in Belgium, and some of France too. Reservations were stalled a few days ago, but quote requests are starting to arrive again, with options for December and for 2014.
Life in Safaga does not change. We live with my wife and daughter who has 5 months. The local population welcomes the change of government and considers that it will be better for the country.
The tourist economy declined following the excessive media coverage of the demonstrations, but they never concerned Lower Egypt or the Red Sea. ”
BRUNO BRECHLER: SEAFARI
“Life has not changed here. The big difference is that there are no more tourists on the streets. The planes no longer come from many of the usual countries, the streets are empty and many shops and hotels are being closed. As a result, the Egyptians have less and less work and are desperately awaiting the return of customers. They don't understand why people don't come any more when everything is quiet in seaside towns like Hurghada, Marsa Alam etc… ..
We have had a lot of cancellations. This is because people hear the news hammering out that airlines have canceled a number of flights.
Reservations are nevertheless encouraging since they have gone. ”
And on the side of TOUR OPERATORS
LAURENT HERVIER: ESCAPE SPOTS
“On reflection, the case of Egypt is like the case of any country which begins to experience tensions and then possibly a cold war or of greater magnitude.
The majority of customers, whether they knit, paint, play knucklebones, kite or dive, react in the same way. Those who know little or nothing about the country do not wish to spend a week's vacation in any place where people collide, kill themselves a few hundred kms away. It is respectful, it is common sense and it is legitimate.
Laurent HERVIER (and his legendary smile ...)
Seeing that some boat owners announce that they do not accept cancellations from customers and TOs strikes me enormously while in recent weeks their information intersects with other more alarmist information, largely supported by the information of our oh so brave Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition: flights from France to Egypt cancel one after the other. So the customers are still very perplexed in front of sense and against sense.
And the TOs in the middle of it all are trying to get customers to leave, but modified flights, changes in departure cities and flight cancellations are increasing… not easy to get good credit.
Faced with those who cancel, we are stuck between the customer and the boat where everyone, in fact, including the TO, wishes not to lose money. Because in the end, there are at least 2 players for whom a shutdown in Egypt can be very expensive, or even lead to bankruptcy: the local service provider and the TO.
It's just the stupidly human reality of which Egypt today is yet another example. But I remain very positive because I know that all Egyptians will make us forget this bloody episode very quickly. ”
OSMAN ERSEN: BLUE LAGOON / BLUE WORLD
“The situation is catastrophic for Egyptians with an average drop of 60-65% in tourism which represented a large part of national income. This percentage reaches 95% in Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. The Red Sea has been less affected by this movement, but hotels have shown considerable reductions during school holidays, all nations combined.
France, which has been mired in an economic crisis for more than 2-3 years, may have been the European country with the biggest drop in tourism to Egypt. While it is true that the government advises against travel to Egypt, it does not make a difference and includes the Red Sea in all of the country's problems, which accentuates the drop in attendance. However, there is absolutely nothing happening between Hurghada and Marsa Alam, passing through Safaga, Quseir or Marsa Alam. The cancellation of certain provincial flights, then the cancellation of flights to Luxor, Tab and Cairo, considerably reduces the offer and creates a vicious circle: fewer travelers - fewer flights - even fewer travelers ……
For there to be a solution to this situation it is necessary that Egypt is calm for a few months, that it succeeds democratic elections, and above all, it is necessary that the big tour operators begin to reprogram flights towards this beautiful country .
New bookings abruptly calmed down in August and have started to pick up since the start of the school year, but very slowly. Let us not forget that in addition to the political crisis, the economic crisis also plays an essential role in the choice of destinations and in the budget that the French devote to their travels. ”
GERARD CARNOT: ULTRAMARINA
“It is difficult to have an opinion on the political situation. I do not master all the elements and it is not my role. However, I can give some information on the security situation. The situation in the big cities is obviously very different from that which prevails in the seaside resorts of the Red Sea. By the sea, calm and tranquility reign.
I am in favor of maintaining departures to the Egyptian coast as long as the security conditions are good. The population lives from tourism and needs our customers.
We can only reassure our customers, but it is sometimes difficult to go against fear. The fear is uncontrollable and goes beyond reason.
What needs to be kept in mind is that we need to ensure the safety of our customers. Ultramarina is a member of CETO and follows the directives of the latter. In addition, we are monitoring the security situation in the country very closely thanks to the presence of an independent body which keeps us informed of the situation on a daily basis. The presence of our local correspondents and suppliers also allows us to ensure local security.
Reservations are almost at a standstill… We have a few customers who know the destination well, or who know returning friends, and who realize that the shores of the Red Sea are safe. ”
Natacha Helbois: AMV - SUBOCEA
“The shores of the Red Sea and the seaside resorts there are calm and sheltered from the events currently taking place in Egypt.
As a result, we continue to market the Red Sea and our customers come home delighted. On the spot, the divers do not feel any tension or any aggressiveness, to use the words of Francis returned on Saturday 31.08 from a diving cruise in the Red Sea: “On site, we do not realize anything… if there was no television in France, I wouldn't know about the crisis hitting Egypt… except that the tourists deserted and we had the dive sites just to ourselves! ”
Some of our divers chose to cancel when the state of emergency was declared and we ourselves wondered whether or not to maintain our stays and cruises. Finally, our service providers on site largely reassured us, and the CETO and the companies keeping the flights open, we had no reason to deprive our customers of their vacations. And they give it back to us since everyone has the same speech: ”everything is fine and we had a great time underwater! ”
The instructions in Egypt
The state of emergency was enacted on August 14 for a month across the country. A curfew is imposed in 14 governorates of 23 at 6 hours the next morning, except on Friday when the times are from 19 to 6 hours the following morning: in Cairo, Guiza, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, North Sinai, South Sinai, Suez, Beheira, Ismailia, Fayum, Qena.
Egypt is divided into 27 governorates and the one we go to most often for diving is the Red Sea Governorate, number 22 on the map below.
For the record, Hurghada is more than 450 kilometers from Cairo and nearly 600 from Alexandria.
Egypt and its 27 governorates
The instructions in France:
“In the current context, any trip to Egypt is formally discouraged until further notice. Travel to Cairo and Alexandria is not recommended, unless there is a compelling reason. ”
Some French TOs have used the precautionary principle, based on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The TUI group has canceled all its departures from France to the Land of the Pharaohs until September 15, including to the seaside resorts of the Red Sea. FRAM has also closed its sales. Costa is canceling its stopovers in Egypt and its Red Sea cruises for the 2013-2014 fall-winter season.
The position of CETO:
The recommendation issued on July 4, 2013 was updated on August 16, 2013. Regarding package tours in Egypt, CETO, Cercle d'Etudes des Tour-Operateurs, indicates to its members that ”The transits through Cairo airport remain maintained, just like the stays planned in the seaside resorts of the Red Sea, the latter being “strictly limited to these seaside resorts and they take place normally”.
And elsewhere in the world:
In Great Britain, the Foreign Commonwealth Ofice (FCO) indicates that transit through Cairo airport to go to the resorts of the Red Sea remains possible, but recommends not to go to the governorate of North Sinai.
The British TOs continue to program the Red Sea and do not plan to reimburse customers if they cancel.
In Germany, the authorities have decided to extend their alert to the seaside resorts of the Red Sea, but are not asking for the evacuation of tourists already present there. The Belgian TOs no longer sell the destination until the end of August, and offer reimbursement or postponement free of charge. In Russia, the authorities have recommended that TOs no longer sell seaside stays until further notice, when 50 packages have already been reserved.
Latest Egyptian instructions:
Nahed Rizk, director of the OEgyptian Tourism Ffice in Paris, refers to the instructions of the Minister of Tourism and refers to videos from the YouTube channel, a message that suggests that “Egyptian tourism is safe and works despite the current circumstances”.
Thursday 22 August 2013, Hicham Zaazou, Egyptian Minister of Tourism, sent a video to tourism professionals. An initiative intended to ask them for help as well as the maintenance of “common partnerships”.
“Regarding the tourism industry, Egypt is, as you know, considered as one of the most important tourist destinations” he recalls.
“Considering the media coverage which does not always represent an objective opinion of the situation on the spot and the negative opinions of the foreign ministries of each country, which I understand, we have to work a lot so that the governments change their minds on the destination."
In his speech, the minister added that “the situation remains calm on the Red Sea” and that “everyone can come and spend their holidays there in complete safety”, just like, according to him, “in the South of Sinai and on Sharm -el-Sheik. ”
He calls on European governments to change their advice to travelers on the Red Sea.
He told AFP that 387 tourists entered Egypt in the first 000 days of July, against 15 in July 515. His goal is still to reach 000 million travelers in 2012, against 13 million in 2013 and 10 , 2011 million in 11,5.
It is undoubtedly the longest article in the history of “Le Mag Scuba People” but it seemed essential to us to make an exhaustive point on the situation.
Now you choose and make the decision to go to Egypt or not on your next dive trip.
I wish you excellent immersions and for my part will take off shortly for a new report. And… guess where I'm going?