File photo: Russian airline
Egypt’s tourism sector revenues are expected to be replenished gradually with about $3 billion (0.75 percent of GDP) on the back of the announcement of Russian direct flights resumption to Red Sea resorts in Egypt after a five-year-suspension, Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi agreed during a phone call on the resumption of direct flights between Russia and Egypt's Red Sea airports, including Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.
Goldman Sachs noted that the resumption of Russian direct flights to Red Sea resorts in Egypt represents a significant push towards the reflation of the country's tourism sector, especially that the sector has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related consequences.
Russian tourists accounted for 75 percent of all tourists to Egypt in 2014, according to Goldman Sachs.
That year, Russian tourists in Egypt surpassed 3.1 million annually, but they have decreased to average 100,000 tourists per year since the Metrojet airliner crash incident over Egypt’s Sinai desert occurred in 2015, according to Goldman Sachs.
But Goldman Sachs said that there is uncertainty about the timing of Russian flights resumption to Egypt amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its related repercussions, in addition to the vaccines rollout process in both countries.
On Sunday, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Khaled El-Anani said that Egyptian tourist resorts are ready to receive tourists from Russia and from all over the world, during a meeting with the Russian ambassador in Cairo.
Since 2015, Egyptian authorities have worked on revisiting the whole safety and security measures at all of the country's airports.
As a result of Egyptian efforts, Russia resumed flights to Cairo International Airport in April 2018, ending a 30-month suspension, without resuming flights to Egypt's Red Sea destinations.
Over the past years, Russian aviation and security experts have inspected safety measures at Egyptian airports, including Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, on more than one occasion.
In FY2021/2022, which starts in July, Egypt targets to attain $5.5 billion up to $6 billion in revenues of tourism sector, according to a draft budget.
Driven by the pandemic, Egypt’s tourism revenue, one of the key sources of foreign currency for Egypt, dropped by 70 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to tourism ministry estimations.