The Alliance of Travel Agencies (ATA) addressed Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with an open letter, in which he explained the need for the early opening of Egyptian resorts for domestic tourists: for business this direction is important because it will allow airlines to load their idle planes, and travel agencies — at least somehow make money in times of crisis. For tourists, Egypt is important in that it will avoid a shortage of places in Russian resorts during the peak of the summer season, as well as expand the seasonality for beach budget tours to year-round.
Here is the full text of this letter:
“Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich! In connection with the terrorist act that took place on October 31, 2015, which claimed the lives of 224 people, in order to ensure the safety of citizens of the Russian Federation, the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin No. 553 of 08.11.2015 was issued. «On individual measures to ensure the national security of the Russian Federation and the protection of citizens of the Russian Federation from criminal and other illegal actions», according to which from 06.11.2015. a ban on flights between Russia and Egypt was established.
This ban was introduced temporarily in order to ensure compliance with safety standards at the international airports in Egypt. For several months, negotiations and work have been conducted between the countries aimed at creating the necessary conditions and ensuring an adequate level of security for the resumption of air traffic.
The Russian tourist market supports the indicated measures taken by the Government of the Russian Federation to create conditions for safe and affordable recreation of Russian citizens abroad and welcomes joint efforts at the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministries of Transport of both countries in this matter.
In addition, the Egyptian side, for its part, is taking a number of measures to stimulate the demand for tourist trips from the Russian Federation. So, in connection with the change in the exchange rate of the Russian ruble in relation to foreign freely convertible currencies, the Government of Egypt made a decision on the admissibility of settlements by Russian tourists with many shops in Egypt in Russian rubles. Also at the moment, the Russian Federation is actively working on the issue of opening a consulate general in Hurghada in 2016, which, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov, will play an important role for the further development of tourism ties. Thus, between the Russian Federation and Egypt there is a mutual interest in the resumption of air traffic, as well as full agreement and understanding of the need for and ways to solve security problems at Egyptian airports.
The tourist product in Egypt has always differed from other foreign tourist products by its affordability. Thus, in the first 9 months of 2015, 1,567,689 Russian citizens visited Egypt for tourist purposes. These data clearly demonstrate the demand for the Egyptian tourist product among Russians. At the same time, the availability of travel to Egypt did not affect the growth in demand for domestic Russian tourism.
Along with the fact that the domestic tourism business certainly recognizes the priority of developing domestic tourism, it should be noted that at the moment Russian resorts are not able to fully satisfy the needs of Russian tourists for beach holidays. This circumstance is due to the geographical location and seasonality of the domestic tourist product, which provides for recreation on the sea coast, the need for which remains in the off-season (from November to April) and, first of all, for residents of central Russia and regions of the northern part of the country. At the same time, such a vacation is not competitive in relation to the ski vacation, which is widespread in the Russian Federation in the winter, as well as cultural, educational and sanatorium tourism, since these types of tourism have different target audience, presenting different requirements and wishes.
At the moment, participants in the domestic tourist market are interested in restoring tourist flow in the Egyptian direction. The lack of tourism in Egypt on the market negatively affects the economic performance of airlines, tour operators and travel agents, leading to downtime of the aircraft fleet and a decrease in sales of travel companies.
In accordance with the above, we ask you, dear Dmitry Anatolyevich, to instruct the authorized ministries and departments to intensify the work on opening flights between the Russian Federation and the Arab Republic of Egypt, of course, subject to ensuring the highest security measures at the airports of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh. «
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