Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anani
Egyptian tourist resorts are ready to receive tourists from Russia and from all over the world, Minister of Tourism Khaled El-Anani said on Sunday amid Russian plans to resume flights to the Egyptian seaside resorts shortly after a 5-year-plus suspension.
El-Anani said the Red Sea resorts witnessed a remarkable increase in tourist flows since they were reopened in July after a brief closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He added, during a meeting with the Russian Ambassador in Cairo Georgiy Borisenko earlier today, that the increase reflects the visitors' trust in the safety of Egyptian tourist destinations thanks to the applied coronavirus precautions.
Borisenko, on his part, stressed that Egypt is an important destination for Russian people, who are fond of the ancient Egyptian civilization, as it is included in the Russian education curricula, according to a statement by the Egyptian tourism ministry.
Russia suspended direct flights to Red Sea resorts in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh as well as other Egyptian airports following the crash of a Russian flight in Sinai in October of 2015.
The suspension decision has taken a heavy toll on Egypt’s tourism industry — a key source of hard currency — since Russian visitors were major contributors to the tourism market in the country before 2015.
Since 2015, Egyptian authorities have upgraded all 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, but did not resume flights to Egypt's Red Sea destinations.
Over the past several years, Russian aviation and security experts have inspected safety measures at Egyptian airports, including Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, on more than one occasion.
On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi agreed with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin, during a phone call, to resume direct flights between Russia and Egypt's Red Sea airports, including Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.
An aviation source has told the Russian news agency Interfax that charter flights may resume to Egyptian resorts after 10 May.