Russia and Egypt have again discussed the opening of air links between the countries and the permission of Russian tourists to rest in the resorts of Egypt. This time the dialogue took place at the level of heads of state: on the initiative of the Egyptian side, a telephone conversation took place on Tuesday between Vladimir Putin and President of the Arab Republic Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
During the conversation, the leaders of the two countries expressed interest in the implementation of measures to ensure security at Egyptian airports, as well as the early return of Russian tourists to the Red Sea resorts. However, no specific statements on the timing were made during the conversation.
It should be noted that on the eve of the presidents’ conversation, it became known that during a regular check at Egyptian airports, Russian experts discovered new problems in the security system. According to the head of the Ministry of Transport Maxim Sokolov, the Egyptian side was provided with further recommendations to improve security measures.
It is not surprising that such news both among tourists and travel agencies in Russia, counting on the Egyptian destination, cause more and more dissatisfaction. At the same time, many sincerely do not understand why Russian tourists have not yet been banned from private flying to Turkey (regular flights to Antalya are operated by Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines), where, according to Vladimir Putin, there is a civil war, and the country’s leadership does not take any measures in the fight against terrorism. And this despite the fact that not only Russia, but also the security services of the United States, Israel and other countries declared about the danger of rest in the republic. Against this background, the policy of double standards of Russian officials is becoming more and more obvious, which prohibit our tourists from friendly and less dangerous Egypt, but allow more dangerous and hostile Turkey, defending the interests of airlines to the detriment of travel agencies and ordinary citizens.
We would like to remind that earlier the representatives of the domestic tourist business told the correspondent of the TURPROM information group that the resumption of air communication between the countries has both opponents and supporters. Moreover, according to experts, the timing of the opening of Egypt directly depends on whose lobby will be stronger. So, according to the players of the tourism market, the officials of the Federal Tourism Agency will deliberately delay the opening of Egypt, thereby forcing the Russians to choose domestic beach resorts. “Officials of the Federal Tourism Agency do this for two reasons: firstly, it is beneficial to them, since it increases statistics on domestic tourism without any cost. And such results the leadership of Rostourism will receive its bosses’ dividends, albeit completely undeservedly, because officials will not do anything to increase the tourist flow. Secondly, Rosturizm is obviously fulfilling an order from the leadership of our resort regions, which fear a collapse in demand after the opening of Egypt. And they are quite rightly afraid — Egypt offers a truly competitive tourism product, which will be cheaper than most Russian counterparts. Moreover, most of the Egyptian hotels operate on an all-inclusive basis, which further increases their attractiveness, «- said earlier one of the leaders of a major tour operator.
However, there is another point of view on this score. Some experts believe that the delay in the opening of Egypt is due to the discovery of a large gas field off the coast of the country. At the same time, the Arab Republic itself does not have sufficient capacities to develop gas deposits, so at the moment the question is who will be engaged in these developments, and unlike Western companies, Russia has a good trump card in the form of tourists who are eagerly awaited in the resorts of Egypt.
In conclusion, we note that at the end of April, Deputy Minister of Transport of Russia Nikolai Asaul, answering a question about the «fate» of Egypt, said that the Ministry of Transport hopes to resume flights to Egypt this year, provided that the Egyptian authorities will provide security for Russian citizens: “Now We are actively working with Egyptian airports to make sure that security at these airports meets international and Russian requirements. And when there is one hundred percent certainty, flights to this country will resume. We believe this should happen as soon as possible. Hope it happens this season. » At the same time, the deputy minister did not name the exact dates, at least supposed ones.
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