«Russian tourists, as the most fearless, will be the first to return to the resorts of Egypt,» many domestic experts said after the outbreak of political unrest in Cairo. However, this forecast did not come true: thanks to reinsurers from Rostourism, Rospotrebnadzor and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by Tuesday Russian tour operators were forced to take out almost all of their tourists from Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh at their own expense, while British and Polish tour operators successfully continued to work in these areas. Moreover, they managed to provide a high level of service in hotels for their clients, having “staked out” for themselves the most liquid hotels. Nevertheless, hoteliers are counting on the speedy return of the Russian and German markets, offering them substantial discounts.
So, all the major tour operators in England, first of all, Thomas Cook and TUI, did not stop their programs in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, curtailing only flights to Cairo and Luxor. Temporarily, until March 1, only small travel agencies of Foggy Albion suspended the sale of tours to Egypt, but not at all because of the threat to the safety of tourists. “The fact is that against the background of a catastrophic drop in the total tourist flow, many hotels are forced to close until better times. Those who remain open, due to the small number of tourists, will not be able to provide them with decent service and quality food. To avoid these problems, major British tour operators are now focusing on a small number of the most liquid hotels, practically completely taking them under themselves and providing them with a stable occupancy. Small players cannot yet sufficiently load such hotels, therefore they have suspended sales of tours to Egypt until March 1, ”Sergey Zalivin, deputy director of the Egyptian host travel agency ALS-tour, explained to the TURPROM newsgroup.
At the same time, the expert is sure that 5-6 of the largest Russian tour operators could well follow the example of their British colleagues, if it were not for the obstacles that officials from Rostourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pose to business under the plausible pretext of ensuring the safety of tourists. “In Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh all these days it was completely safe. Not a single incident was recorded with any tourist. That is why the British, who are the most scrupulous of all nations about the safety of tourists, continued to work in these resorts in Egypt. By the way, on February 14, German tour operators are scheduled to negotiate the full resumption of programs to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, ”added Sergei Zalivin.
Russian officials are still silent «like partisans.» And although on Tuesday at a press conference, representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry, answering a question from a correspondent of the TURPROM information group, promised to officially lift their restrictions on the travel of tourists to Egyptian resorts when the situation there improves, but it was difficult to name the exact date of such a cancellation. Meanwhile, in fact, because of their «recommendations», tour operators are suffering catastrophic losses — according to ATOR’s estimates, the total losses of the Russian tourism industry may reach an astronomical figure of $ 125 million. Moreover, a considerable part of these losses will fall on travel agencies that have not yet recovered from their losses caused by the recent bankruptcy «Capital Tour».
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