Azerbaijan to contribute to restoration of Egypt's tourist sphere
Among the numerous flights that are expected to be launched to accommodate the increasing number of tourists visiting Sharm El-Sheikh are flights from Azerbaijan to Sharm El-Sheikh that will start operating on November 8, according to South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda, Egypt Today writes in the article Azerbaijan to launch direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh in Nov. South Sinai Governor Fouda revealed on Monday, Oct. 22 that Sharm El-Sheikh attracts global interest, confirming that the city will witness a huge number of tourists, including Russian tourists, in 2018-2019 winter season.
In the same context, many Russian tourism companies expect that once charter flights to Egyptian resorts are resumed by the end of 2018, tourist inflow to several cheap world resorts such as the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam, and Thailand will decline.
The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners; it has suffered badly from the travel ban that turned the once 100 percent occupied resorts to empty buildings.
Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016. Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.
The British tourist inflow used to range between 800,000 and 1 million tourists, but this number also declined after the suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. British flights are now limited to the tourist landmarks in the Red Sea and the Upper Egyptian cities of Luxor and Aswan.
During the 26-month air traffic suspension, a lot of false reports about the expected resumption of direct flights between Egypt and Russia circulated in the media. During that period, the Egyptian government spared no effort to settle the case and speed negotiations with the Russian side, as well as other countries that imposed a ban on direct flights to Egypt. Russian authorities always stressed that the resumption of flights would only be possible after Egypt satisfies all the demands of Russian experts on ensuring security at domestic airports. Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits by Russian security to behold changes implemented by the government. During these visits, the Russian side affirmed that Egyptian aviation authorities have made significant progress in complying with Russia’s aviation safety requirements. In mid-December 2017, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on aviation security and a special protocol on restoring air service between the two countries. Russian President Putin signed the decree on resumption of scheduled flights to Cairo on January 4, 2018.