Russian tourists are seen shopping at the old medina in Sousse, Tunisia, September 30, 2017 - REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
CAIRO - 4 May 2021: Russian tourism to Egypt is expected to resume within a month, said Russian ambassador in Cairo Georgiy Borisenko during his visit to Hurghada, praising the anti-Coronavirus measures and preparations in the touristic city.
In a press conference held on Monday in Hurghada city, he said that the Russian aviation authorities are working on the return of flights to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh as soon as possible.
The ambassador praised the anti-coronavirus efforts made by the Egyptian government and precautionary and security measures taken by the Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports to increase safety rates for arriving tourists.
He confirmed that over the past few weeks, there had been talks with Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Minister of Tourism Khaled Anani, to discuss the Egyptian authorities' measures to protect Russian tourists from the Coronavirus.
“I think that Russian tourists will be very happy to return to Egypt,” he said.
President Adel Fattah El Sisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in a phone call on April 23, to fully resume flights between the two countries, especially to the coastal cities of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, after six years of hiatus to these touristic destinations.
Flights between two countries were suspended at late October 2015 after a bomb downed a Russian flight carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board, mostly Russian tourists. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group.
In January 2018, Russia decided to resume the flights to Egypt’s Cairo International Airport after Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands necessary for the resumption of flights.
Egypt expects more than one million Russian tourists in 2021 as direct flights between the two countries, including the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, are expected to resume in the following weeks, Reuters quoted Egyptian deputy tourism minister as saying.
Ghada Shalaby said that in 2021, Egypt is set to receive 50 percent of the number of tourists it had in 2019 after the number plummeted by 70 percent in 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19.
The number of visitors coming to Egypt dropped to 3.5 million in 2020 from 13.1 million in 2019, according to Reuters.
The country, which depends on tourism as a main source of income, is aiming for tourism revenues of $6 billion-$7 billion this year, Shalaby added.