Negotiations between Egypt and Russia on the resumption of charter flights will commence in April 2018, said Mostafa Khalil, the Vice President of the Federation of the Chambers of Tourism.
Khalil told Al-Masry Al-Youm said that regular flights could attract 300,000 tourists in 2018. Cultural tourism, he says, is key to attracting Russian visitors to Cairo, while recreational tourism must be strengthened to bring Russian tourists to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
He added that Egyptian tourism companies are preparing promotion campaigns targeting Russians, in cooperation with the Tourism Promotion Authority.
A Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai, October 2015, and killed all 224 people on board. It was claimed as a terrorist attack by an IS-affiliated group, and Russia subsequently suspended flights to Egypt, which led to Egypt’s tourism industry taking a substantial hit.
Prominent businessman Shady Samir called for encouraging the return of charter flights from Russia to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada as soon as possible.
After the resumption of flights between Egypt and Russia, which is expected in February, Russian tourists must fly to Cairo International Airport and take a transfer flight to Sharm el-Sheikh, which will raise the costs for Russian tourists, Samir said, and a high holiday cost may deter Russian tourists from visiting Egyptian resorts.
An infographic created by state-run Russia Today in December revealed that 300,000 Russian tourists are expected to arrive in Egypt in the initial period following February’s resumption of flights between the countries. Russia Today anticipates that Egypt’s tourism industry will generate $3.5 billion in the first months of 2018.
In December, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov and Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi signed a cooperation agreement on civil aviation security in preparation for the resumption of flights between the two countries in February.
The signing ceremony was held at the Russian Ministry of Transport in Moscow in the presence of Ehab Nasr, the Egyptian Ambassador to Russia, along with high-level diplomats and officials.
Fathi said that flights between Moscow and Cairo would resume on February 1, and that the two countries would further discuss in April the resumption of charter flights between the two countries.
Sokolov said that Cairo International Airport met all aviation security requirements, while Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports require greater security, which is the task for next year.
Tourism revenues make up 11.5 percent of Egypt’s total GDP according to the Ministry of Tourism, and the estimated cost of the Russian (and previously UK) suspension of flights cost Egypt’s tourism industry $4 million per day.
Source: Egypt Independent