Travel insurance may be compulsory for tourists travelling to Egypt

Following the deaths of British couple John and Susan Cooper at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada, there has been discussion of new rules to help prevent any rise in incidents that could happen to tourists who travel out to Egypt.

The couple were on a Thomas Cook holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel, where they died, unexpectedly, during their day. Thomas Cook then removed all 301 of its guests from the hotel while the cause of the couple’s death is being investigated. Recently, a local governor confirmed that there was a “strange odour” in the room where the couple were staying.

In light of the incident, new rules for tourists heading into the country are being considered for safety reasons. Travellers could soon be required to have travel insurance before being allowed to enter Egypt; the insurance will need to cover accidents as well as medical expenses.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident in Egypt this year – which is what prompted this insurance requirement discussion. Earlier this year, another tourist was killed in a hot air balloon crash. Hot air balloons and camel rides are particularly risky activities for anyone, but many tourists book them over the period of their holiday to experience the country they’re visiting in a different way.

Egypt won’t be the only country with mandatory travel insurance – Cuba, Russia, and the Netherlands require their visitors to have travel insurance, too.

The Financial Regularity Authority in Egypt will be conducting an investigation into any incidents that have occurred or do occur in the country. This could lead to an international insurer for travellers to use when purchasing their travel insurance.

For any tourists looking to travel to Egypt, you should be aware that some UK insurance providers class Egypt as a part of Europe, despite it being part of Africa. Always check your travel insurance before you buy it, or if you’ve already purchased it, check that you’re properly covered for accidents and medical costs.

Despite all of this, more than 300,000 travellers from the UK holiday in Egypt without incident.

Egypt isn’t the only country discussing the need for compulsory travel insurance; Thailand is also debating it. The main reason for travel insurance is to prevent the cost that can come with accidents and incidents in a foreign country. Incidents in Egypt can cost tourists thousands when they don’t have the correct insurance to cover them against medical costs.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have several warnings and pieces of advice for UK nationals travelling to Egypt, and it would be prudent for travellers to check these before they book their holiday. Some of the statements listed as are follows:

  • Fights to Sharm el-Sheikh are currently banned from the UK.  
  • The government advises against all travel to North Sinai following a 2017 terrorist attack which killed 300 people 
  • All but essential travel to South Sinai and west of the Nile Delta and Nile Valley region is advised.
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