Egypt may be fully open to Russian tourists in the near future — probably even before the May holidays. A source in the Ministry of Transport announced this information to a correspondent of the TURPROM information group. The matter got off the ground after an open letter from the Alliance of Travel Agencies (ATA) sent on February 28 to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (read the details here).
Simultaneously, on Monday, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Bogdanov met with the Egyptian Ambassador Ihab Nasr. It is officially reported that the parties discussed the situation in Syria, but there is no doubt that the issue of the full opening of Egypt for Russian tourists was also raised. Moreover, the topic of the opening of Egypt is now topical for political reasons — as a «soft» leverage on Turkey, with which Russia has a strong conflict in Idleb.
Recall that the Russian inspection, which checked the security level at the airports of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh from January 19 to 24, 2020, was satisfied with what they saw. This was stated by the Egyptian side. Everyone was waiting for the official opening of Egypt, especially since the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, personally asked Putin about this during the telephone New Year’s greetings.
However, by mid-February this topic gradually died out: neither the Federal Air Transport Agency nor the Ministry of Transport made any public statements about the prospects for opening Egypt, and even tried to refute the information that flights to Egypt were considered as compensation for airlines for closed China. According to some reports, Turkish tour operators put pressure on the Federal Air Transport Agency, convincing officials not to open Egypt until the fall, amid fears of losing part of the tourist flow to Turkey, where large exclusives in hotels were taken under it.
However, tensions with Turkey appear to be pushing Russia to open Egypt as soon as possible. But for the citizens of Russia, Egyptian resorts have long become socially significant because of their availability and quality service, and for travel agents, the sale of Egypt in general can become a saving straw against the background of the closure of many countries due to the coronavirus.
So, in its letter, ATA justifies the need to open Egypt with the following arguments: “Against the background of restrictions on sales of tours from the beginning of February to Southeast Asia due to the coronavirus, and to Europe at the end of February due to an epidemic in Italy, Russian travel agencies are not in able to satisfy the needs of domestic tourists for quality beach holidays: the range of tours offered in Crimea, in the resorts of the Krasnodar Territory, as well as in Turkey and a number of distant countries, is clearly insufficient to satisfy everyone. It is also extremely difficult for the Russian tourism business to operate in these conditions due to the drop in revenue. To solve both of these problems, public organizations suggest that the government immediately consider the issue of opening Egypt to Russian tourists. «
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