The Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers called on Ukrainian tourists stranded in Egypt and residing in 4-star and 5-star hotels to negotiate with Ukrainian tourism companies to pay their accommodation costs or to accept the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism’s offer that the Tourism and Antiquities Fund cover part of their accommodation expenses, with a total of only $10 per night in 3-star hotels.
The Federation issued a circular to all hotels in the governorates of South Sinai and the Red Sea stating the continued residence of stranded tourists whose flight conditions prevented them from returning to their country.
The circular stated that three meals and light drinks would be provided daily to stranded tourists, with the fund of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities bearing part of the cost of accommodation and meals. The circular stated that three meals and light drinks would be provided daily to stranded tourists, with the fund of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities bearing part of the cost of accommodation and meals.
Experts in the tourism sector confirmed that despite Egypt’s geographical distance from the Russian-Ukrainian war, its impact extended to the sector, which represents an important lever for the economy, and had only recently begun to recover from repeated shocks. The Russian escalation forced the Ukrainian government to stop all flights, including tourist and commercial flights to and from Egypt.
Tourist bookings from Russia and Ukraine had already begun to decline in February, with early tensions between the two countries emerging. Peter Nathan, a hotel owner and head of the South Sinai Hotel Chamber, said that the number of planes coming from Russia and Ukraine to Egypt fell 30% in February compared to last month, while the occupancy of Sharm El-Sheikh hotels fell to much lower rates than in December 2021 and January 2022.
Elhamy El-Zayat, former president of the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers and agent of Ukraine Airlines in Egypt, said that Ukraine’s importance to the Egyptian tourism sector has declined recently. According to Zayat’s estimates, Ukrainians make up about 3% of the total number of tourists coming to Egypt. Their contributions amount to about 2.5% of the total revenues of the tourism sector. He also made it clear that if the war continued, it could have a major impact on Egypt.
The Egyptian Hotel Establishments Chamber had detected a noticeable decline in the number of flights for Ukrainian tourists, especially in the last three weeks. Ramy Fayez, a member of the Chamber, said that the crisis has affected the tourism situation in Egypt. He explained that last year Egypt received nearly 700,000 tourists from Ukraine alone. According to the Ukrainian Tourism Agency, in 2021 the number of tourist trips abroad made by Ukrainian citizens was about 14.7 million. Turkey ranked first in receiving Ukrainian tourists with 28%, while Egypt came in second place with 21%.
Businessman Atef Abdel Latif says that Ukrainian tourism is important to Egypt, especially to the cities of the Red Sea, Marsa Alam and South Sinai, and it has played a major role in creating a tourism movement in Egypt during the past five years. Abdul Latif revealed that tensions between Russia and Ukraine led to a significant decline in Ukrainian tourism rates, especially after aircraft insurance companies cancelled their dealings with Ukrainian flights, and a large number of airlines stopped entering Ukrainian airspace.
This crisis portends a complete halt to Ukrainian and Russian tourism to Egypt. Tourism will also be affected in general in Europe, and may decline in the month of March, which has always seen an increase in tourist traffic in normal times. Abdel Latif called for the need for tourism markets in Egypt to diversify the countries they deal with, and not rely on traditional sources of tourism only. He pointed out the need to focus, besides traditional markets, on tourists from Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, and other Arab countries.