Resumption of deadly political unrest has Egypt looking like a no-go zone again and Algeria has ongoing issues beyond what the mainstream media focus on, but one major cruise line is returning to Tunisia.
For awhile, it seemed as if things were looking up for travel to Egypt. The political winds of the Arab Spring had swept longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak from power and most Egyptians seemed happy about their prospects for the future.
Tahrir Square was no longer the scene of daily demonstrations and clashes with police and counter-protestors. Tours of historic sites in and around Cairo and Nile River cruises, cancelled during the troubles, were resuming. It was all looking good.
The conflict between the Islamists who back the new president, Mohammed Morsi, and secular Egyptians who fear that Morsi is trying to ram an Islamic state down their throats has erupted into daily street violence that so far refuses to die down. Dozens have been killed, well over 100 hurt.
Morsi has put a state of emergency in effect in three different Egyptian cities, none of which is Cairo, which means the unrest extends well beyond the Egyptian capital.
IBIT says: If you were thinking about making that trip to the Giza pyramids this year, you might want to think a little longer.
To the west, Algeria also looks shaky. Algerians have been protesting for the better part of three years over things like a housing shortage, high food prices, unemployment and corruption, and those issues are far from resolved.
The recent raid on a natural gas facility by radical Islamic terrorists and the bloody government counterstrike pretty much seals the deal.
IBIT says: You go to Algeria now at your own risk — and at the moment, the risk looks pretty high.
The news isn’t all bad, though.
The cruise line Holland America has returned making port calls in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began two years ago.
A spokesman for Holland America Line tells IBIT that the cruise ship Rotterdam is scheduled to make three Mediterranean cruises this fall of 11, 22 or 32 days between Western Europe, Italy and the Holy Land.
Each will be making a stop at La Goulette, the port of Tunis.
Tunis is Tunisia’s capital. It’s also an ancient city whose existence predates the Roman Empire. This originally was Carthage, the land that produced Hannibal, the general who invaded Europe, led an army with elephants across the Alps and for a time, scared the Romans right out of their tunics.
When the Romans returned the favor and overran Carthage, they tried their best to destroy every trace of evidence that the Carthaginians ever existed. They didn’t quite succeed, though, and you’ll find the remnants of that glorious past in Tunis.
Plus, Tunisians are wonderfully welcoming and friendly to visitors, in the true tradition of Islam.
IBIT says: If you’ve got the time as well as the cash why not? Just monitor events closely and make sure you have travel insurance.
Morocco also remains a quiet and stable travel destination these days. However, Morocco may have some issues of its own regarding “us,” which IBIT will be exploring in the coming days.