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January 31, 2011

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Shanghai tourists 'safe'

THE hundreds of Shanghai tourists currently in riot-torn Egypt were safe and sound, the Shanghai Tourism Administration said yesterday.

But they would be leaving Cairo for other cities or staying in their hotels to avoid possible dangers, and were expected to take flights home as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, travel packages to Egypt have been suspended for the time being.

People who have canceled their trips during the Spring Festival holiday will receive refunds from travel companies. They may, however, be unable to recover visa fees and the cost of airline tickets.

The National Tourism Administration has advised that tourists should "think it over" before going to Egypt.

The Shanghai China International Travel Service Co Ltd said about 95 percent of tourists who had booked Egypt-bound packages had asked for refunds. "The whole middle-east market during the Spring Festival is spoiled," said Yu Weihua, general manager of the company. "Originally, Egypt was rather popular this winter."

The Shanghai Airlines International Travel Service Co Ltd said a tour group of 12 members was due to leave Cairo for Shanghai last night.

"They still had several scenic spots yet to visit, but it's impossible for them to go sightseeing," said general managed Wang Yan. "Fortunately the airport is still open and they are able to get back home before the situation gets worse."

Travel agencies said that because of the riots, Egypt-bound tourism could be affected for many months with tourists losing confidence in the country's security.


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