Tour operators offer bargain North Africa holidays

Tour operators offer bargain North Africa holidays

Tour operators are offering bargain packages to North Africa in a bid to lure holidaymakers back following the civil unrest earlier this year.

Tui Travel has reduced the price of some holidays to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco by nearly half to address the slump in visitor numbers. The travel giant has lost £29 million as a result of unrest.

A range of other tour operators including Abercrombie & Kent, First Choice, Direct Holidays, Co-operative Travel and Longwood Holidays have all reduced prices to fuel demand.

Mike Greenacre, managing director of the Co-operative Travel, said that sales of holidays to Egypt and Tunisia during March and April fell by 50 percent and 30 percent respectively, compared with the same period last year.

Around 15,000 Britons visited Tunisia in March, compared with nearly 24,000 during the same month in 2010, according to the Tunisian National Tourist Office has claimed.

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Between four and six million people are expected to visit Egypt in 2011, down from 13 million last year.

However experts say the lack of crowds presents an excellent opportunity to enjoy sites such as the Pyramids of Giza.

Peter Lilley, chief executive of the Middle East and North Africa Travel Association, told The Telegraph: “Many people, particularly those with young families, will want to travel elsewhere this year. But if you take the view that these things can happen anywhere, then there are some excellent holiday deals to be had.”

He tourism figures to Morocco had been largely undeterred by last month’s bomb attack in Marrakesh, in which 17 people were killed.

However the flight-comparison website Skyscanner.net has reported a fall of 28 per cent in searches for flights to the country.

The Foreign Office lifted in February its advisory against all but essential travel to Tunisia and parts of Egypt, but it says that outbreaks of violence are still possible.

Curfews remain in place at night in Egypt and Tunisia – although they are not enforced in tourist areas.