Egypt welcomes Russian flight resumption to Red Sea resorts
By IANS | Published: July 9, 2021 11:45 AM2021-07-09T11:45:02+5:302021-07-09T11:55:07+5:30
Cairo, July 9 Egypt has welcomed on Russia's decision to lift a ban on charter flights to the ...
Cairo, July 9 Egypt has welcomed on Russia's decision to lift a ban on charter flights to the African country's Red Sea resorts after around six years of suspension, the Foreign Ministry in Cairo in a statement.
"Egypt expresses its aspiration for the speedy return of Russian tourism to Egyptian resorts, which would enhance bilateral cooperation in the tourism field," Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.
Issued in November 2015, a few days after a Russian plane crashed over the Sinai Peninsula killing 224 people, the ban was annulled earlier on Thursday by a decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Before Thursday's decision, only regular Russian flights to Cairo and official flights to Egypt were allowed.
The Russian flight suspension greatly affected the tourism industry in Egypt, for Russia used to be a top source of tourists for Egypt's popular Red Sea resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Before the 2015 crash, Russian tourists accounted for about 40 per cent of all foreign visitors to Egypt, mostly arriving on chartered flights to Sharm El Shiekh and Hurghada.
The resumption of the chartered flights comes at a time when Egypt's vital tourism sector is slowly recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government this week allowed hotels nationwide to operate at 70 per cent of their capacity, up from 50 per cent. Preventive measures remain in force.
Egypt welcomed 13 million tourists in 2019, the year before the pandemic struck, earning $13.03 billion.
Last year, its revenues from the sector dropped to $4 billion.
The tourism industry, which normally accounts for about 15 per cent of Egypt's gross domestic product, earned the Treasury about $4 billion during the first half of 2021.
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