The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday raised its travel alert for Egypt from “orange” to “red,” the highest level in its warning system, the Tourism Bureau said.
The move came one day after the ministry issued an orange alert on travel to Egypt, advising travelers to avoid unnecessary trips to the country. The new advisory calls for travelers to cancel their trips.
The Tourism Bureau said the ministry raised the travel alert after demonstrations against the Egyptian government continued to escalate, adding that protesters were reported to have attacked the headquarters of the National Democratic Party as well as banks and supermarkets.
Amid rising tensions, the Egyptian government also implemented a curfew from 4pm Saturday until 8am yesterday. All communication services, including the Internet and mobile phones, were disconnected during the curfew, the bureau said.
The bureau said it had reached an agreement with the Travel Agent Association (TAA) and the Travel Quality Assurance Association so that travelers forced to cancel their trips because of the travel warning would be refunded based on Clause 28 of the Standardized Contract for Overseas Tour (國外旅遊定型化契約書範本), which stipulates that a contract between travel agents and travelers may be rescinded because of force majeure — a reason for which neither party can be held responsible.
The same clause states that travel agents may first deduct any expenditure that was made on behalf of the travelers or that was necessarily incurred in executing the contract.
To minimize losses, travelers could choose to either postpone their trips or switch to tours to other countries, the bureau said.
The TAA estimates that about 800 Taiwanese on high-end tour packages were scheduled to leave for the north African country during the Lunar New Year holiday, each paying between NT$70,000 and NT$110,000.
TAIWANESE IN EGYPT
The ministry said 22 Taiwanese businessmen were in Cairo and 410 Taiwanese tourists were currently in Egypt.
Ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) said all were accounted for and safe.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG
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