Foreign travel agents cancel Christmas bookings, fear unrest

All foreign travel agents have canceled the Christmas bookings made for holidays in Egypt this year, fearing the volatile political situation, Elhamy al-Zayat, chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, has said.
He added that next year’s bookings have not been canceled.
“Although the success of the first phases of the parliamentary elections portends stability, the media gave a different impression to European tourists,” he said, adding that the tourists do not fear Salafis' statements about tourism as much as the security vacuum and violence.

However, Osama al-Ashry, an undersecretary at the Tourism Ministry, said that the ministry has not been informed of such cancelations. “All we know is that they have been reduced, compared to before the revolution,” he said. 

Several Salafi leaders have expressed a desire to restrict tourists’ activities, through banning bikinis and severely restricting the sale of alcohol, among other measures.
Meanwhile, at least 17 people died and hundreds were injured when the military attempted to forcibly disperse a sit-in outside the cabinet building in Cairo on 16 December, prompting clashes that lasted five days.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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