We would like to provide a further update on travel to the region as we have a large number of tours scheduled to operate in the coming months and understand that there will be a degree of nervousness amongst travellers.
As a family of passionate travellers, the Middle East is, and always has been, very close to our hearts. We have been exploring and loving the region for over 20 years, and between us we have visited over 50 times. In addition to the incredible ancient wonders what keeps us coming back is the people, the rich culture and the wonderful local experiences that make the Middle East such a special part of the world.
Sacha Bunnik (Joint-CEO) and Annelieke Huijgens (General Manager) have just visited both Egypt and Jordan. They provided the following update:
- Update on Egypt
- Update on Jordan
- Egypt & Jordan Tour Cancellations and Postponements
- Update on Israel
We visited our office in Cairo and met with the team. We also visited the Pyramids and Sphinx and tried out some new special experiences we’re looking to add to our future touring program.
This was my 15th visit to Egypt over the past 12 years and I can honestly say it felt absolutely no different to any of my previous visits. Cairo was as big and busy as it always is with the hotels buzzing and the tourist sites full of visitors soaking up the ancient wonders.
Security has always been tight in Egypt because tourism is such an important part of the Egyptian economy. This being the oldest tourist destination in the world the Egyptian people are amongst the warmest and most hospitable people I know. That said it also means the sellers at the pyramids know every trick in the book and will have you paying over the odds for your souvenirs before you know it. Most of the visitors we saw were from Europe and South America. There were lots of Spanish tourists and a few Aussies as well. Whilst we were in Cairo we had several Bunnik Tours groups down in Luxor and Aswan.
From Egypt we flew to Jordan where we visited Amman, the Dead Sea and the ancient ruins of Jerash. I love Jerash, it is one of the best persevered Roman cities in the world and is simply stunning.
In Jordan too everything was exactly the same as it has been on my previous visits. The hotels, restaurants and tourist sights are all open and we saw tourists from all over the world. We also caught up with two of our Bunnik Tours groups – joining one of them for dinner and a special visit to the house of a traditional match-maker in Amman. This was such an interesting experience. Both these groups were due to continue on to Egypt and were very much enjoying their Jordanian experience.
Please click here to see photos and read comments that we have received from Sacha and Annelieke, as well as our clients and guides in recent days.
As both Egypt and Jordan are open and the tourism industry is operating as normal cancellation charges will apply for those wishing to cancel upcoming tours. We will work with our suppliers (including airlines, hotels and ground operators) to minimise charges as much as possible. This approach, whilst taking longer to finalise, ensures the best outcome for you. Please understand that this tourist season was the busiest season ever in Egypt and Jordan and as such many hotels required upfront deposit payments and commitments. Significant work is undertaken prior to travel to ensure all arrangements are in place for a group’s arrival. Cancelling or postponing trips requires all this work to be redone. For this reason our suppliers often have no choice but to impose fees. Your patience and understanding is appreciated.
Our tours to Israel remain suspended until further notice. Passengers booked on upcoming tours will be contacted on an individual basis in tour departure date order. Egypt, Israel and Jordan tours are being redesigned to spend additional time in Jordan and Egypt.
Israel Travel Update, 9 October 2023
Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the terrible situation that has escalated in Israel over the weekend, and we hope that peace prevails soon.
At Bunnik Tours, the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and team members is of utmost importance. Currently we have no passengers on the ground in Israel. Effective immediately we have suspended all touring in Israel up to and including 1 November 2023.
After this time, we have no tours scheduled to depart until 18 January 2024. We will continue to monitor this situation over the coming weeks and months, and any tours to Israel beyond this date will be assessed in due course.
We do have a number of Egypt, Jordan and Israel tours running and about to depart. All clients on tour are safe and well. The tours on the ground are being changed to avoid Israel with additional nights and sightseeing in Jordan and Egypt. All impacted clients and their travel agents were contacted over the weekend.
Egypt, Jordan and Israel tours yet to depart are being handled on a case by case basis, with clients and travel agents being contacted in due course.
The Council of Australian Tour Operators has also released a statement on travel to the Middle East and can be read by clicking this link.