Passengers on their way to Egypt. Now the flights have been cancelled. Photo: Bertil Ericson / SCANPIX

Foreign Ministry advises against trips to Egypt

The Swedish Foreign Ministry has decided to advise Swedes against travelling anywhere in Egypt. This is stricter than the advice given on Friday, which only warned against travelling to the big cities in the country. Swedish tourists - bound for tourist resorts along the Red Sea coast - were leaving for Egypt as late as this morning.

The new advice comes after a meeting by the EU ambassadors in Cairo Sunday morning. But already on Saturday night, as reports of looting also in the Egyptian tourist areas had started to trickle in, the Foreign Ministry had signalled that it may reconsider its recommendations.

Nevertheless the charter trip agencies continued to fly Swedes to the resorts Sharm el-Sheik and Hurghada, which drew criticism from travellers. In TV4 Nyhetsmorgon Kajsa Moström at Apollo travel agency responded to the criticism that the only sustainable way for them as a travel agency is to cancel flights only when the Foreign ministry advice is actually changed, not before.

Swedish Radio News reported that 26 out of 183 passengers due to fly with Apollo to Hurghada at 6.30 am on Sunday morning, decided they would not travel.

As soon as the changed advice from the Foreign Ministry was announced, the travel agencies started cancelling flights. Ving and Fritidsresor announced they would cancel all flights to Egypt until the 23rd of February. The companies' approximately 5000 customers currently in Egypt will be flown home during the coming week, and extra planes will be helping out. The tourists have been told not to leave the hotel area. The travel agency Apollo announced they would bring people home to Sweden "as soon as possible".

According to the Foreign Ministry there are 8000-10,000 Swedes currently in Egypt, who have travelled with any of the charter trip companies. An additional 5000 Swedes could have travelled to the country independently, but the numbers are uncertain, the news agency TT reports. 184 Swedes have registered at the embassy as residents in Egypt.

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