May 3rd, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Hmmm... I'd rather go to Egypt than Iraq, these days.
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May 4th, 2005, 12:18 AM
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A Public Announcement is less strict than a Travel Warning. If you go to the State department's Travel warning page referenced in a previous post, you will see that, among other places, Israel, the Philipines, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe are all listed. I think that State is far too liberal with their travel warnings, but even under their rules Egypt doesn't warrant a Travel Warning.

Spygirl, you simply aren't correct about a travel warning not being issued because a country is a friend of the US or because it prevents USG personnel from travelling to a place except under special circumstances. I'm a USG employee and my friends and fellow USG employees are scattered all over countries with extant travel warnings. The only thing you have to do to travel someplace is have a duty requirement or to indicate that you have read about and are aware of the security situation if you want to vacation there.

The bottom line for egypt is still that the attaks there seem to be isolated instances and the threat level still seems minimal. I don't think it currently warrants being avoided. If something else happens in the near term, then I would reconsider.
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May 4th, 2005, 04:43 AM
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This is a forum in which open disccussion can be enjoyed by all. Needless to say this includes your views.

With that said if you end a mail on the subject of visiting Egypt with the line "It might well save your life, because Egypt simply is NOT safe rright now, period, end of story" in effect you have made up your mind that you are correct and are not into even debating the issue. The tone of your mails throughout this thread have been as such and there is no doubt about the fact that there are Fodroites who disagree with you. You in turn dont even bother to give them an ear. With that said your above quoted line make me wonder why you even need to write to this forum and why you dont simply just write your mails to yourself. In simple words if you have made up your mind beforehand that you are correct and are not even prepared to listen to reason why even bother to write. Whatever you do give me the hogwash that you will save a life because in effect as you will supposedly do this so you will also divert somebody from having great holiday using non substantive evidence to promote what you are saying about safety in Egypt as a tourist.

All I camn say is that it has been a long time since I have heard such an autocratic voice on this Fodors chatboard and for the sake of this remaining a democratic board I will tolerate the mails however I dont welcome the manner in which the content is presented at all.

Hope this make you think about what is going on as opposed to just responding blindly without considering the thoughts that others present on the subject.

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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May 4th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Apparently the US State Dept agrees with issued a travel warning today..NPR radio said they said to "avoid tourist areas".
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May 4th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Rubytwo, State issued a Public Announcement to be careful in Egypt, not a Travel Warning to avoid the country. Confusion between the two is common, but the Public Announcement is a much less stringent statement.
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May 4th, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Scout: I was listening to NPR, but I should have checked the Dept of State site before posting. The public notice says that US travelers should avoid tourist areas or crowds in Cairo. Thanks for the info...I didn't realize there were two kinds of postings from the State Dept.
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May 4th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Scout: you did not read my post correctly, I was not linking the fact that Egypt is a friend of the US necessarily to the issuance of a Travel Warning (but I am very definitely not saying that it isn't one of the factors either). And I don't think you can say with certainty that Egypt does not "warrant" a Travel Warning in this instance-it could yet come about.

In this case, I'm reasonably sure that State WON'T issue a TW for Egypt, for a number of different reasons-factors considered are that they are a staunch foe of terrorism, and they are heavily dependent on tourism-this issue has come up before between the two countries. There have been high level discussions between diplomats on this very issue in the past, where Egypt has argued very forcefully against the issuance of a TW.

But this Public Announcement is about as stringent a warning as State will issue under the circumstances-when the Announcement says to avoid all crowds and public places-how is that substantively different that warning against travel to the country? It really isn't because the whole purpose of going to Egypt is to get out in the bazaars and other public areas isn't it? It's substantively little different from the TW on Indonesia.

And as far as a TW and USG personnel, we're not talking about vacationing-we're talking about official duty requirements-USG personnel are not authorized to go to countries with TWs in effect except under special circumstances. Indonesia restricts the movement of USG personnel in that country, as it is under a continued TW.
As far as there being USG scattered around countries where TW's are in effect-obviously there are-USG personnel are assigned to embassies under critical mission assignments-but that's not what I was referring to.

I would say, in this instance, that the issuance of this Public Announcement on Egypt is substantively the equivalent of a Travel Warning because it is advising against free movement in the country-that's about as much of a "Warning" as a traveler can get.
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May 4th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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My husband and I have cancelled our trip to Egypt due to the bombings. I read that most of you think this is silly.

We have three school age children. If on the off chance something does happen, will they think it was worth it? Will they think their parents were "cool"? Will they they say, "hey no problem that I have to finish growing up without a mom or dad?". I know that life itself means taking risks, however, you have to be nuts to compare the risk of going to a country where terrorists are targeting tourists and tourist attractions this day and age, with an American city!!!

I think there is no easy answer to this question. I think it depends on your individual situation.

It is after all...only another vacation!
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May 4th, 2005, 10:11 AM
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wkcape. I don't think you are silly at all. You weighed the risks and felt they were greater than you wished to risk. If my children were still at home, I wouldn't risk it either.
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May 4th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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wkcape, I respect your decision, you have to make it based upon your comfort level with travel to a given area, just as we all do.

Spygirl, we seem to see things differently, but that's life. I admire your ability to provide cogent arguments even when I disagree with them. (I also read back through your posts and found one from a year ago when you were singing the praises of Egypt, so you obviously aren't just a Chicken Little)

I'm done with this topic until something else happens. I want to get back to following Rocco's analysis of Zambian Safari camps!
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May 4th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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No one thinks you are silly at all! Particularly with having small children. The only caveat to that is, I don't like to be lambasted for having weighed the risks and then decided to take our trip. It is all personal choice here. Everyone has their own comfort level.. my husband and I had one of the finest vacations of our life in Kenya, when they had a state department warning not to go there.. but then, if we had children at home we may not have felt that the threat was worth the benefit.. everyone is different.
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May 4th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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As I said in the thread that's been deleted, my feeling about acceptable risk is very different if my children are along.

Based on the current situation I wouldn't take my children to Egypt. However, I would go by myself or with my wife.

We all have different comfort levels and tolerance for risk.
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May 4th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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Just to set the record straight, I also work for the U. S. Government and am as well qualified to comment on travel warnings as anybody else.

The state department only issues travel warnings when there is a credible threat. That does not mean that the area is unsafe; it means that they, in the event of a disaster, must be able to show that they warned people not to go. Anybody who believes otherwise simply doesn't understand how government bureaucracy works.

Call me cycnical if you will but the failure of the State Department to issue a travel warning means that they do not consider the threat serious although they would like to hedge their bets just a little by telling people to avoid croweded places.
If you check the State Department website you will notice that on 8 March 2005 they issued a public announcement urging "Worldwide Caution". I guess this means we should all stay home.

The time to become concerned is when they tell everybody to get out of the country.
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May 4th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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wkcape - Not silly at all. You and others will make like decisions based on your personal situation. If I had to consider young children, my decision would more then likely be the same. Time enough to rebook Egypt or any other destination at another time when your comfort level allows you to.

We, in turn, after 9/11 couldn't wait to get on a plane to South Africa, except we weren't scheduled to leave for another two months. Whereas, most Americans, specifically, didn't want to leave home and wanted to be with family. It's all understandable.

And if we weren't in such a rush to leave after 9/11, we were just as willing to get going on our trip to Kenya and Tanzania after the Embassy bombings in '98... we were ready to leave the next day, but had to wait a month.

As to "avoiding crowds" whether a warning or just simple advice - that's a standard for travel anywhere; you wouldn't have caught me in the crowds at the Popes funeral. We all have to decide what's best for our particular situations.
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May 5th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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"avoiding crowds" is a bit difficult in a city like Cairo...

I agree that if you still have time to make a decision, monitor the news coming from Egypt... I read news about anti government demonstrations in Cairo, which are organized by Islamic opposition elements. This is NOT good news, and may show the weaking of Mubarak's powers.

In a dictatorial country like Egypt, when thousands of people dare to go out in public against their government --- it usually marks trouble coming...
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May 5th, 2005, 06:56 PM
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Well I've not been following this thread lately either, because I actually DO deal with issues the like of which we are discussing on this thread, and so have to take a break from it every once and awhile!

rfb-unless you actually work in law enforcement and intelligence matters for the USG, you have no better knowledge about the issuance of Travel Warnings than anyone else-and indeed, I should say that the issuance of a Travel Warning is most assuredly NOT just based on a "credible threat" -it has to do with many factors, specific and credible threats being among the factors-(but that, in and of itself, doesn't say much).

Primarily, it is a risk analysis equation: i.e., does the country in question have the ability to counter the terrorist threat posed to US citizens? What is the risk to US citizens? If the country in question doesn't have a handle on the situation, if it is unable or unwilling to counter the threat, then these types of factors will likely lead to the issuance of a Travel Warning.

Also, contrary to what you've posted, a Travel Warning does NOT have to do with State being able to show that they issued a warning "not to go in the event of a disaster"-where that came from I don't know, but I do know that is the viewpoint of someone who does not understand how such warnings are disseminated and their rationale.

There is no basis for your contention that State "must not consider Egypt to be unsafe, otherwise it would have issued a Travel Warning"-that's sheer speculation on your part, and without foundation-MANY Travel Warnings start out as Public Announcements-with the escalation of a threat, they get upgraded.

As far as Egypt and the PA is concerned, it is perfectly appropriate that State should first issue this as a PA-they need to see what Egypt is going to do to contain the threat, and what, exactly, the threat consists of.

But one thing is for certain-when the PA comes on the heels of repeated deadly attacks against westerners in a matter of weeks, and advises not to go into crowds or other tourist centers-then that is clearly diplomatic speak advising not to go AT THIS TIME, because there is little point in touring a country where, because you'll be in a tour group, you're effectively a moving target, and thus, there will be marked restrictions on your movements within the country (by the Egypt Govt.)

Like I said, it won't kill you to wait it out for the next few months to see whether or not the threat is contained, but it might if you don't. These successive attacks against tourists are NOTHING to take lightly- the first in seven years.

Immediately after the killings in the Khan al Khalili bazaar of April 8, the American Embassy in Cairo issued an immediate warning (BEFORE State issued the worldwide Public Announcement) for Americans to stay away from the Bazaar and other public places. How much more of a warning are you going to get? And is support of the local economy and the idea that "we're not going to let the terrorists win" really going to matter if you've become a victim of an incident?

Farflung-attacks like this against tourists simply are not occuring on this scale anywhere other than Turkey at the moment. Personally, I wouldn't advise anyone, particularly with children, to go to Egypt in June- all the information you need to make such a decision is staring you right in the face.
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May 6th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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Well, yesterday I cancelled our flights. The final straw was the massive demonstration/protest in Cairo. When large groups (and it was v. large at 2500!) gather things can really escalate, being in that type of environment is scary. They arrested over 400. If people are already angry, then it doesnít take much more to really set them off. Weíve stumbled across other ďpeacefulĒ protests in France and Spain, itís really uncomfortable to be around. I just donít want to put my kids, or us, in that situation. We go on vacation for fun. With all thatís gone on there, the fun is dissipating quickly and being replaced by worry. We were in Cyprus right after 9/11 (in October). They had found several of Bin Ladenís brothers in the north. I did not feel compromised in any way, but it was always in the back of my mind; and that wasnít even a real threat compared to the tourist poaching that has been going on in Egypt. Chances are nothing would happen to us in Egypt, but with all the baloney that has gone on in Cairo alone, itís just not worth taking my children into an area that seems to be increasing in volitity. I will get there, just not now. Iím v. disappointed, but Iíll get over it.

It's been very interesting reading everone's view points. Thanks for writing.
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May 6th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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Thank you for sharing your actions in addition to your opinions/questions on the situation, since actions speak loudest. I am sorry you had to cancel and hope you can enjoy a rescheduled trip in the future.
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May 6th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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Why does not the USG issue travel advisories/warnings/whatever against travel to New York (the bombing this week) or California (4 killed so far this year in 12 incidents) or Washington State (home arson) or Atlanta (court killings) or Minnesota/Wisconsin (mass killings) or ...?
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May 6th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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I'm new to this site. Thanks for your input. I've been considering taking a trip into the Sinai at the Taba crossing in early June. As to the persons who started the chain, I went to Egypt 16 years ago and it's a must, but not if you are not going to enjoy it. Re State being political: I reported that I was hijacked and on a bus by four armed men outside Mexico City and the consular officer told me that she had never heard of such a thing, although it was a common event.
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