Since the restoration of international tourism in Egypt since July 1, the resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada have already been visited by about 250,000 tourists from 15 countries, by the way, including Russian tourists, who most often arrive through Belarus. This information was announced by the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of the country, Khaled Al-Anani, speaking at a press conference in Germany, where he flew specifically to persuade the Germans to lift restrictions on flights to Egypt. He also said that the success of Egypt’s precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has reflected in the number of tourists for the better. Cultural tourism has also been recovering in Egypt since September — this mainly concerns excursions to Luxor in the Valley of the Pharaohs, in Aswan, as well as in Cairo to the famous pyramids of Cheops, Khafre and Mikerin.
As the minister noted, Egypt is very much counting on the German tourism market — numerous meetings were devoted to this, including with the German Minister of State for Tourism and State Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas. By the way, Mr. Al-Anani became the first Egyptian official in Germany after the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Recall that another extremely urgent task for Egypt is the restoration of tourist flow from Russia. However, for the return of Russian tourists, Egypt must meet two conditions — to recognize the catastrophe of the Russian liner Metrojet over Sinai in 2015 as a terrorist attack, and also to keep the incidence of coronavirus at low rates. At the same time, Aeroflot and even the Russian ambassadors in Cairo and Egypt in Moscow spoke about the possibility of restoring charters to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, which experts considered an encouraging sign, given the lobbying capabilities of the national carrier.
Thus, Mohamed Caud, head of the Tourism and Aviation Committee of the Egyptian Association of Young Entrepreneurs (EJB), called on the Egyptian side to “return to the negotiating table” on the 2015 disaster. He stated that the return of Russian flights to Egypt is a very positive decision in favor of the country’s tourism and its sustainability. He also stressed that it is Russian tourism that is the main pillar of Egypt’s tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, and called for a review of the issue of returning charter and regular flights between these resorts and Russia. “It is necessary to study the issue of resuming direct flights between the airports of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada on the one hand, and the airports of St. Petersburg and Moscow on the other, especially those focused on large group tourism and luxury travel,” said Mr. Caud.
The second condition is a good situation with the coronavirus. Here Egypt, at least according to official figures, is already at its best. So, according to Johns Hopkins University, at the time of mid-September, there were only 9,255 active cases of Covid-19 in Egypt, which, with a population of 100 million, means approximately 9 patients per 100 thousand.This is about 10 times less than in Russia.
It is also extremely important that «signals» about the imminent opening of direct flights to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh began to come from officials. So, at the beginning of the week, the Egyptian Ambassador to Russia, Ehab Nasr, said that the country of the Pyramids would be one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists. He stated this in an interview with the Egyptian TV show «Sabah al-Kheir Ya Masr» («Good morning, Egypt»). Nasr noted that over the past 20 years, Egypt has seen a significant increase in the number of Russian tourists, especially in the beach resorts of Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and their neighbors. “The resumption of travel between the two countries will have a positive effect on tourism in Egypt, not only in those areas traditionally visited by Russian tourists, but also in less well-known regions of the country,” he said. The ambassador also expressed the hope that a mandatory negative test for coronavirus for tourists in Egypt would not hinder the flow of tourists between countries.
The Ambassador of Russia to Egypt Georgy Borisenko was even more outspoken — a week before he said that the opening of direct charters to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh is really not far off. “We hope to be able to resume these flights soon, but we cannot confirm a specific date when this will happen. Many Russian tourists would like to fly from Russia directly to these resorts, and by 2015 more than 3 million Russians came to rest on the Red Sea. Last year, Russian tourists also rested there, but much less — about 150’000, because they have to use connecting flights.
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