CAIRO – 22 October 2018: 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.
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.
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.
Tourism in the whole country has been greatly affected since the uprising that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The most fatal blow to Egypt’s tourism is that the Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, crashed over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015, while carrying Russian tourists returning from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.
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.
On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Cairo for the second time since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014. The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after the bilateral relations have been up and down.
Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”
“The first flight will likely be launched in February,” said Sokolov.
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.