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U.S. tour companies, university cancel trips, study programs to Egypt

U.S. tour companies, university cancel trips, study programs to Egypt
An Egyptian military convoy arrives near Tahrir Square in Cairo during the clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
(Virginie Nguyen Hoang / Associated Press)
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The ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and a deadly showdown with his supporters has forced tour companies to cancel trips to the Mideast country and at least one university to pull the plug on a study-abroad program this fall.

At least 10 people  were killed and hundreds wounded as Morsi supporters and opponents fought in the streets of Cairo, The Times reported Friday afternoon. The U.S. State Department on Wednesday warned Americans to defer travel to Egypt because of continuing political and social unrest. It also said U.S. non-emergency personnel and family members were ordered to leave the country. (A previous warning, issued June 28, had urged travelers to defer “nonessential” travel.)

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Tour companies in Hong Kong, Britain and Japan have scrapped upcoming tours to Egypt, according to media reports.

In the U.S., luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is canceling trips to Egypt scheduled for July, August and September and waiving any penalties, a spokeswoman said via email. “We are in the process of contacting travel agents and their clients to suggest alternate arrangements or postpone their travel until the current situation resolves itself,” spokeswoman Jean Fawcett wrote Friday. The company also will cover change fees for those who booked their international airfare with A&K.;

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Pennsylvania-based Friendly Planet Travel hadn’t returned to Egypt after the revolution. “We did not resume our tours because we didn’t feel there was sufficient stability in the country and it appears we were right to be cautious,” President Peggy Goldman wrote via email.

And at least one university has canceled study-abroad programs for fall. The Office of International Programs at Georgetown University canceled its fall study-abroad program at the American University in Cairo because of the U.S. travel warning, the school’s newspaper said. The school in April also canceled its summer program to Alexandria, Egypt. (The American University closed two of its downtown campuses until Saturday.)

But Rick Kaplan of Premier River Cruises said “recent political unrest has not caused the cancellation of any cruises sold/operated by U.S. based cruise lines.” Kaplan pointed out that the airport remains open and river trips for the most part travel upriver and avoid Cairo, where violent clashes are playing out.

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com

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