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British Tourists Still Travelling To Egypt Despite Deadly Violence

17/08/2013 14:47 BST | Updated 17/08/2013 15:42 BST

British tourists are still flocking to Egypt for sunshine breaks - as hundreds of people are killed in violent clashes in the capital.

As fighting between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and the security forces continued to grip Cairo, the UK government said most of the countryside was a no-go zone for holidaymakers.

Britons were told not to travel to popular locations such as Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria unless it is essential, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warned against all travel to the north-eastern corner of the country.

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But that has not stopped people from visiting Red Sea resorts, which are deemed safe to travel to by the FCO, though there have been reports of demonstrations in Hurghada.

Some holidaymakers during the last few days have been told to stay within the grounds of their hotels in Hurghada, said Sally Asling, speaking from her hotel.

She said she feels safe because the focus of the bloodshed is further inland, a drive several hours away from Hurghada.

"We feel really safe," she told Sky News.

"The hotel is high security and the airport is high security. It is quicker for me to get back to London than drive to Cairo. You have to keep perspective on it.

"There was a demonstration a mile down the road two days ago.

"It is unsettling hearing how quickly things become volatile and kick off.

"It is safe, but how safe?"

sharm el sheikh
Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh are still considered safe

Worried holidaymakers considering cancelling their plans have little option but to travel because insurance would not cover lost costs, she said.

Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice are flying thousands of passengers to their Red Sea destinations.

The companies said today they have cancelled excursions to Cairo, Luxor, Moses Mountain and St Catherine's Monastery.

British Airways is still flying to Cairo but has adjusted its schedules to fly inside curfew times imposed by the Egyptian authorities. It is allowing passengers to rebook to Cairo or change destinations.

"We are keeping the situation in Egypt under constant review," its spokeswoman said.

"As a result of the night curfew in Cairo we have altered our flying schedule to avoid the late evenings. We apologise for the inconvenience but we will always prioritise the safety of our customers and crew.

"Customers who no longer wish to travel to Cairo can either rebook to a later date or change to another destination."

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(GRAPHIC WARNING) Egypt Clash Between Islamist President Mohammed Morsi Supporters And Security Forces

Other European countries have taken a firmer approach, with Germany advising its nationals not to travel to Egypt at all.

The FCO said it is advising British nationals to check its travel advice and is urging people to obey regulations set out by local authorities and any curfew, if they are affected.

UK travel organisation Abta estimates that around 40,000 Britons are currently in Egypt.

Thomson and First Choice have 11,769 British holidaymakers in Egypt, many of them in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh and the others in neighbouring Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam, while Thomas Cook has several thousand UK tourists in the Red Sea resorts.

The Government has said it is "deeply concerned" about the escalating crisis in Egypt and "deplores" the latest loss of life following clashes between the Egyptian army and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Chaos continued to engulf the capital Cairo yesterday, leaving at least 82 people dead including 10 policemen.

More than 700 people have been killed across the country in a week of violence between those loyal to Mr Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and the security forces of the interim government.

Today, Ayman Sadek, of children's charity Plan Egypt, said he fears for the country's future generations.

"We are concerned also of the impact of children witnessing the trauma of such clashes and are closely monitoring the situation with the safety of children and our staff in mind while hoping for peace," he said.