CAA sends tourists home after Thomas Cook collapse, Egypt feels the pinch

The tourism sector in Egypt was affected after Hossam El-Shaer, chairman of the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) and Thomas Cook’s operator in Egypt, announced that 25,000 reservations in Egypt, booked up to April 2020, had been cancelled. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2019

CAA sends tourists home after Thomas Cook collapse, Egypt feels the pinch

  • Around 100,000 UK-based tourists used to visit Egypt through the company each year
  • Official says the company’s bankruptcy was bad news for the entire tourism sector

LONDON: The UK branch of Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy has sent shockwaves throughout the global tourism industry.

Sunday’s announcement came after the company’s top officials failed to reach a settlement with lenders to continue operating. Thomas Cook needed £200 million up front ($250 million) and an additional package of £900 million to pay off liabilities.

The tourism sector in Egypt was affected after Hossam El-Shaer, chairman of the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association (ETAA) and Thomas Cook’s operator in Egypt, announced that 25,000 reservations in Egypt, booked up to April 2020, had been cancelled. El-Shaer said around 100,000 UK-based tourists used to visit Egypt through the company every year.

He added that there were around 1,600 Thomas Cook customers in Egypt at the resort of Hurghada, and that they would return to their countries via consultation with and assistance from the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

Though Thomas Cook in the UK will cease trading, the franchise in other countries, including Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Poland, and in Scandinavia, is operating normally.

El-Shaer added that after Thomas Cook collapsed, an agreement was reached with the CAA to regulate customer check-outs and the transfer of tourists from Egypt to their home countries according to their departure dates. The company addressed Egyptian hotels, saying it would guarantee all liabilities provided no money was taken from tourists.

Sayed El-Gabry, a Thomas Cook operator in Egypt, said the company’s bankruptcy was an “unfortunate global shock since it is a big company that has strong connections with us, and we worked together for a long time.”

El-Gabry said the company’s bankruptcy was bad news for the entire tourism sector: “The world has lost a huge British economic entity.”


So-called honor killing of teen girl brings outcry in Iran

Updated 35 min 36 sec ago

So-called honor killing of teen girl brings outcry in Iran

  • Iranian president Rouhani has urged his cabinet to speed up the introduction of harsher laws against such killings

TEHRAN: The so-called honor killing of a 14-year-old Iranian girl by her father, who reportedly used a farming sickle to behead her as she slept, has prompted a nationwide outcry.
Reza Ashrafi, now in custody, was apparently enraged when he killed his daughter Romina on Thursday after she ran away with 34-year-old Bahamn Khavari in Talesh, some 320 kilometers (198 miles) northwest of the capital, Tehran.
In traditional societies in the Middle East, including Iran, blame would typically fall on a runaway girl for purportedly having sullied her family’s honor, rather than on an adult male luring away a child.
Romina was found five days after leaving home and taken to a police station, from where her father brought her back home. The girl reportedly told the police she feared a violent reaction from her father.
On Wednesday, a number of national newspapers featured the story prominently and the social media hashtag #RominaAshrafi reportedly has been used thousands times on social media, with most users condemning the killing.
Proposed legislation against honor killings has apparently shuttled for years among various decision-making bodies in Iran.
On Wednesday, Romina Ashrafi’s case led Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to urge his Cabinet to speed up harsher laws against such killings and he pushed for speedy adoption of relevant legislation.
There is little data on honor killings in Iran, where local media occasionally report on such cases. Under the law, girls can marry after the age of 13, though the average age of marriage for Iranian women is 23. It is not known how many women and young girls are killed by family members or close relatives because of their actions, perceived as violating conservative Islamic norms on love and marriage.
Iran’s judiciary said Romina’s case will be tried in a special court. Under the current law, her father faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Iran’s vice president in charge of family affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, expressed hope that a bill with harsher punishments will soon be in the final stages of approval.
Shahnaz Sajjadi, special assistant to citizens’ rights in the presidential directorate on women and family affairs, on Wednesday told the khabaronline.ir news website “We should revise the idea that home is a safe place for children and women. Crimes that happen against women in the society are less than those that happen in the homes.”