Unnecessary! Despite the wide spread acceptance that due to the evolving situation in Egypt, the vacations are the order of the day, evacuations are extremely unnecessary and add to the continuing disturbing trend. Very rarely do citizens need to be evacuated.
Yes, there have been demonstrations, pockets of violence, military and police intervention and government condemnation but this does not warrant wide exemptions for any group / s. Buildings are still standing, the entire city is not without power, water and bodies are not piling up on the streets due to mass violence by the second. Consider the reasons for evacuation, the true motivations of evacuees and compare them with other recent calamities.
Imagine sitting quietly in a public area when multiple people run past screaming and wailing. Even though you see no danger or reason for the behavior you are illegally to sit and take your chances. Most likely you are going to join the melee. Sympathic evacuations occur all the time. A single group (largely uniformed, scared, low tolerance or spurred on by other agitators) will make a dash for the nearest port or means of escape. Their actions are monitored, broadcast or simply spread through other communities such as travelers and expatriates. Not long after, this group is joined by another group, and another and yet another. Soon you have everyone calling for evacuation even though they do not really know for what reason. Any and all negative events that occur in the course of this scramble (such as being stopped at a police checkpoint) only reinforces of validates "need" for evacuation in everyone's mind.
In recent weeks we have seen a terrorist attack at a major international airport in Russia. Was there a large scale international evacuation required? A series of natural disasters has seen Australia suffer some of the worst flooding, storms and even fires in a short period. Did any developed nation fly in with government chartered aircraft or military planes to evacuate their citizens? India and the Philippines have suffered severe snow storms and a fire that gutted hundreds of homes respectively. Again, any mass evacuation? The consistency and offering for evacuations is obtaining even more confusing as governments seek to atone for past mistakes and chase votes with "popular" support operations.
Governments have been motivated by past failures and almost complete risk avoidance for political reasons. I have already commented in a previous article as to the value of government travel advisories and warnings which continue to display such risk avoidance and lack of relevance to the majority of travelers. Travelers on the other hand, have been motivated largely by the offering of a "free" return flight. There have been legitimate threats to individuals and small groups but far less than the thousands that have been evacuated so far. Many of which will be back to Egypt in the not to distant future. Everyone loves a good adventure story to share from a recent holiday but it does not mean the adventure was really necessary or avoidable.
The vision and stories coming from Egypt have been akin to looking through a keyhole. Only a small geographical area has been affected, the entire country has not collapsed, infrastructure remains in tact and Egyptians are not seeking vengeance against any and all foreigners. The interpretation and processing of visuals and reports on Egypt have been over dramatized.
Remember the events that have lead to the evacuation of thousands from Egypt. Similar "templates" will be applied to an increasing amount of situations in the coming months and years. It does not mean they are necessary. Business travelers and travel managers beware. Expectations have been set and evacuation statements are but a phone call away. Many false positives will be the result but regretably there will still be situations that result in failure to respond when there is a very real need to intervene for the sake of life safety and security of citizens abroad because the current application of support is far from consistent or predictable on all sides.