Many readers have contacted The Independent with concerns about their travel plans to the Middle East as well as the eastern Mediterranean.
These are the key questions and answers.
Is travel to and from Israel still possible?
Yes, commercial flights continue, with El Al linking London Heathrow and Luton with Tel Aviv. But the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) warns against travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Standard travel insurance will be invalidated if you choose to go there – and any form of tourism would be completely inappropriate in the current circumstances.
Which other Middle East locations are also officially no-go areas?
The Foreign Office warns against travel to:
The FCDO warns against travel to certain areas of these countries:
- Egypt: Most of the nation is off limits. Crucially, though, the Foreign Office does not warn against travel to tourist areas, including the entire Red Sea coast and the Nile Valley all the way from the Sudan border to the Mediterranean, including Abu Simbel, Aswan, Luxor, Cairo and the Pyramids and Alexandria.
- Jordan: Only a 3km strip of territory along the Syrian border is off-limits.
- Saudi Arabia: Only a 10km strip of territory along the Yemeni border is off-limits.
Terrorist attacks have taken place in these countries, and the FCDO warns that further attacks are likely. But without a “no-go” warning, travel firms can continue to send holidaymakers – and need not offer refunds to people unwilling to travel.
I have a tour of Jordan in three weeks. What are my options?
You could choose to cancel, but if you do so you are likely to lose most or all of your money.
The terrible events in Israel and Gaza are of huge concern for the Middle East, but at present the Foreign Office believes that Jordan is sufficiently safe for British visitors. I have also checked the advice to travellers issued by the Australian and US governments – both of which mirror the British line.
Jordan is a fascinating and welcoming nation, which I have been lucky enough to visit several times in the past few years. On the basis of my experiences I would not hesitate to travel to the Jordanian capital, Amman, or any of the main tourist sites: Jerash, the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
If the Foreign Office advice changes to warn against travel to Jordan, package holiday companies will…