Egypt Watch

Russian tourism to Egypt is back to a halt

A number of Russian airlines announced the cancellation of all international flights, against the backdrop of international sanctions that Russia faces as a result of its war on Ukraine.

The European Union had banned any Russian aircraft from using its airspace. Private European aircraft companies also terminated their contracts with Russian airlines.

The head of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotel Establishments, Alaa Akel, explained that even if not all Russian companies officially announced the cancellation of their flights, all Russian flights to Egypt have already stopped – while the flights of some companies were limited to the return of Russian tourists who were in Egypt. Russian airline S7 has announced the suspension of all international flights in the coming months. Ural Airlines also announced the suspension of flights to Egypt from March 14 to May 20.

Ali Mansour, a member of the Egyptian Chamber of Hotel Establishments, said that the cancellation by Russian airlines of their incoming flights to Egypt affects tourism by up to 60%, noting that all flights that were expected to arrive during the current week have been cancelled. Russia lifted the ban on flying to Sinai last July, after nearly six years of halting flights between Russia and Egypt over the crash of a Russian plane in November 2015 in Sinai, which killed 224 people. Last August, the Russian Air Transport Agency agreed to eight airlines to organize flights from Russia to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh and to raise the number of flights from Moscow to tourist resorts in Egypt to 15 flights per week.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, 3.2 million Russian tourists in 2015 accounted for about 33% of the total tourism to Egypt. In 2019, about 13 million tourists visited Egypt, achieving revenues for the tourism sector amounting to 13.3 billion dollars, in the best recovery of tourism since 2011. But with the advent of the pandemic, the number of tourists fell in 2020 to 3.5 million tourists.