Travel advice for post-Arab Spring destinations – Egypt

by in Egypt, Features, Home, Places.

Almost 18 months since the protests in Tunisia set off a chain of events which became known as the Arab Spring, each of the affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa is facing its own challenges and opportunities. While destinations such as Libya were far from the minds of most tourists even before the revolution, visitors from around the world enjoyed holidays to Egypt and Tunisia.

Such countries were heavily reliant on foreign visitors and statistics show catastrophic falls in tourist numbers of up to a third following the huge political changes. One of the consequences of such a decline is billions of dollars in lost income, but with the situation in many countries in the region now stable travellers are again considering spending time and money on a summer holiday in a post-Arab Spring country.

This series of articles will examine the prospects for travel to destinations which were popular in pre-revolutionary times as well as a couple of places that may have been off the radar but could be worth considering for your next trip. Safety is paramount and will be given first priority – we will relay the latest travel advisory information we have from reliable sources at the time of publication but naturally situations can change and ultimately it is up to each potential visitor to decide whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

We have not included Syria for obvious reasons. When peace returns – as we hope it will before too long – we will update this series.

This first article concerns the region’s real heavyweight in terms of tourism…


Image (c)

The Arab Spring in Egypt:

At the beginning of 2011 protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. After initially trying to quell the uprising the government collapsed and the revolution succeeded, but not without  considerable violence and loss of life. Disappointingly the new rulers dragged their heels and promised reforms were delayed.

The current situation:

Protests continue after the recent first round of elections but these were the first to be freely contested in the country’s history and thus an indicator of real progress. When the second round of voting to decide on the country’s next president is completed and a winner announced the way forward for Eqypt will become clearer. Fears that one of the candidates will ban alcohol and  impose segregated beaches have been dismissed as an attempt to win votes and would face massive opposition from the hospitality industry.


Still a concern, particularly after the kidnapping of several groups of foreign tourists in the Sinai Peninsula in February and again in May 2012. The British Foreign Office continues to advise against non-essential travel to the northern part of the peninsula.

The effects on tourism:

Visitor numbers were down by more than a third in 2011 compared to the previous year and have been slow to pick up despite the efforts of specialist travel agencies and the return of some major cruise lines in 2012, including Princess, Oceania, P & O, Cunard, Silversea, Seabourn, Holland America, Celebrity, and Norwegian. Nile River cruises began again in late 2011 despite having far fewer passengers. Tourism is one of Egypt’s most important sources of revenue so such a dramatic decline has serious economic consequences.

Attractions for visitors:

Egypt has many entries on most peoples’ bucket lists. To begin with, the country is home to the last surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the World; the Great Pyramid of Giza. There are two other pyramids in the same location and of course the Sphinx which sits in front of them. The temples of Abu Simbel next door are equally impressive but even these are overshadowed by the Temples of Karnak near Luxor.


Image (c)

A Felucca trip down the Nile is another must-do, and for beach lovers the Red Sea resorts offer sun, sea and sand. If you’re into snorkeling or diving Hurghada is the place to go and you can qualify for your PADI certificate at one of the diving schools here for a fraction of the cost back home

Our verdict:

Egypt is slowly returning to its rightful status as a holiday destination of choice; as long as you can deal with a little uncertainty you should definitely consider visiting. Enjoy the lack of visitors, crowds and queues while it lasts.


Image (c)

Are you considering travel to Egypt? Do you think it’s too dangerous? Use the form below to send us your comments on this article and don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

The next in our series on the post-Arab Spring countries will cover the place where it all started – Tunisia

Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier -

Tags: , , , ,

12 Responses to “Travel advice for post-Arab Spring destinations – Egypt”

  1. ShaneJune 13, 2012 at 15:22 #

    I’d love to go back to Egypt and hopefully will sooner rather than later. Our last trip there was disrupted by the revolution which made travel around the country impractical. Nonetheless despite staying in Dahab from the initial protests to Mubarak’s fall we never once felt threatened.

    Had we not been two weeks over our visa and needing to get on with our journey towards Turkey we would have stayed longer and enjoyed having the major sights to ourselves. I think that opportunity may be over now but, as long as travellers to the region keep up to date with the news and stay away from any sporadic trouble that may spring up, now is still a great time to visit.

    • Andy HiggsJune 15, 2012 at 08:37 #

      Hi Shane and thanks for the comments. I’d love to get to Egypt too, my only experience was a stop-over on the way down to Ghana about 18 years ago. But I’m a bit fan of North Africa having travelled extensively in Morocco and Algeria. I also have fond memories of Libya, from 1977 when my father was living and working there. Amazing Roman ruins and great beaches, so I am hoping that travel there will become an option soon. I think people are returning but travellers will still notice a lack of long queues and high prices. Hopefully the situation will become clearer any day now after the second round of the elections.


  1. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Tunisia - June 19, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, and this second one concerns the country where it all started… […]

  2. Guides, Tours and Going it alone - June 21, 2012

    […] places such as Egypt, for example, having someone to show you around can help make your trip safer and easier. And this […]

  3. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Morocco - July 3, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, the second one was about Tunisia, and this article concerns the increasingly popular country of Morocco… […]

  4. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Jordan - July 10, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, the second one was about Tunisia and the third was about Morocco. Now we turn our attention to a destination which is growing in popularity but is still under the radar to a lot of travellers – which is definitely unjustified… […]

  5. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Lebanon - July 23, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, then came Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan. Now we turn our attention to a destination which was becoming ever more popular before the Arab Spring – the fascinating mix that is Lebanon. […]

  6. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Oman - August 8, 2012

    […] far in this series we’ve been to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and most recently Lebanon. This time around it’s the turn of a […]

  7. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Dubai - August 16, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, then we wrote about Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman. Now we turn our attention to a destination which was wildly popular before the Arab Spring – what have the upheavals in the region done to Dubai?. […]

  8. Grown-up Travel Guide News Update 20.09.12 - September 20, 2012

    […] Muslim Brotherhood’s success in Egypt’s presidential elections this year will not affect the country’s beach tourism, a minister for […]

  9. Affordable Attractions in Egypt - September 27, 2012

    […] s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); Looking to experience Egypt without busting your travel budget? While it’s not one of the most expensive holiday […]

  10. Travel guide to post-Arab Spring destinations - Abu Dhabi - October 1, 2012

    […] The first article covered Egypt, then we wrote about Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman and Dubai. Now it’s the turn of Dubai’s neighbour and fellow emirate, Abu Dhabi – not an obvious choice for a holiday destination but perhaps a hidden gem? […]