Travel firms axing tours to Egypt

JIJI, Kyodo

Major travel agencies are canceling tours to Egypt in light of the tensions generated in the wake of the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Although the losses are relatively small, the companies are disappointed because tours to Egypt had just started to recover from the Arab Spring democracy movement uprisings in 2011 that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

JTB Corp., Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. and Nippon Travel Agency Co. have canceled all Egypt tours up to July 31. Hankyu Travel International Co. will scrap Egypt tours through July 17. Full refunds will be offered, the agencies said.

Most people visiting Egypt are retirees or senior citizens. A typical tour costs around ¥200,000 to ¥300,000 for seven to 10 days, including air fare, hotels and escorted sightseeing. The customers usually hit the Pyramids and cruise the Nile, with side trips to neighboring countries such as Turkey are also popular.

According to JTB, July and August are considered off-season for Egypt because temperatures can soar above 50 degrees.

The latest uprising is only likely to affect tours to Egypt, Hankyu officials said. Nippon Travel officials predicted that customers will soon return once the situation goes back to normal.

Separately on Thursday, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida urged all parties to exercise self-restraint a day after the military ousted Morsi. In a statement, Kishida called on the army, supporters of Morsi and anti-government activists “not to use violence, exercise maximum self-restraint and take responsible actions.”

Kishida also said Japan will closely monitor with great concern the future course of Egypt after the coup.

The Foreign Ministry said it has not received any information that Japanese residents of Egypt were injured in the events.