Egypt unrest forces Indian tourists to cancel holiday plans

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Plans for many Indian tourists toclick a picture in front of the Pyramid, a cruise down theriver Nile are coming unstuck due to the political crisis inEgypt and according to travel agents, cancellations arepouring in.

"Due to the crisis, customers have cancelled their travelplans to Egypt, which is a favoured destination for manypeople, especially those travelling for honeymoon during thistime," Yatra.com Co-Founder Sabina Chopra told PTI.

She said, on an average about 600 bookings are done in ayear for Egypt by her company. "We are making bookings forEurope and Far East instead, for those who cannot go to Egyptright now," she added.

According to Chopra, the peak season starts from Aprilevery year, when families flock to Egypt.

"But with the current situation in the country, we are notmaking any bookings right now," she added.

A seven day package to the country costs anywhere betweenRs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per person, including site seeing, airtickets, meals and is very popular, according to Chopra.

According to Pearl International Tours and TravelExecutive Director Arjun Seth, the crisis has not onlyimpacted travel to Egypt, but also to nearby countries.

"Last year we did 300-350 bookings for Egypt, and hadexpected a substantial increase in that number this year, butwith the prevailing situation, I expect at least 80 per centcut in the number of travellers," Seth said.

Expressing similar sentiments, STIC Travel GroupChairman Subhash Goyal said:"Egypt had become a very populardestination for Indian outbound travellers...but unfortunatelybecause of the current situation, virtually all the leisuretravel bookings have been cancelled or postponed for anindefinite period."

He said his company makes about 500-600 bookings peryear for Egypt.

In November 2009, Egyptian Tourism Authority hadappointed Bollywood actor Celina Jaitley as as a brandambassador to promote Egypt as a tourist destination in India.

The North African country is currently in a state of fluxas a large numbers of protesters have taken to the streets ofCairo and other cities of the country demanding the end toPresident Hosni Mubarak''s 30-year rule.

The country, one of the oldest civilisations, is popularamong tourists for Pyramids, ancient monuments like theSphinx, Red Sea scuba diving, hot night spots and mostimportantly romantic cruises down the river Nile.

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