Sunday, September 28, 2008

Egypt kidnappings not stopping tourists

Times Online

The adventure-tour operator Explore will decide in the next few days whether to go ahead with trips to the remote western desert of Egypt, where 11 tourists were kidnapped on September 19.

The company’s next tour, which is due to depart on October 17, will include several days in the Gilf Kebir, an uninhabited region of dramatic rock sculptures and prehistoric cave art. It was there that 11 tourists, mostly Germans and Italians, and eight Egyptian guides were seized by gunmen and taken over the border into Sudan.

Explore says the 11 clients booked to travel next month have been offered the chance to switch to another tour, but are all keen to go ahead. Other tour operators report that clients have been in touch seeking reassurance after initial media reports misreported that the kidnap had taken place in the popular tourist city of Aswan.

The Foreign Office has not advised against travel to any parts of Egypt, merely reiterating its warning of a “high threat from terrorism” across the country. In the past, Islamist groups attacked tourists as a way to destabilise the Egyptian government, but the motivation for the latest kidnapping seems far from ideological – the gunmen have demanded a ransom.

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