Egypt parliament (Al-Ahram)
The chair of the Egyptian parliament's tourism committee Nora Ali has said that the resumption of direct Russian flights to the Red Sea on Monday represents a big boost for Egypt's economy and the tourism industry.
"The landing of the first direct Russian flight at Hurghada airport on Monday morning should be considered a moment of great happiness for the tourist industry in Egypt," said Ali, adding that "Russian tourists represent a big force for the Egyptian tourist industry."
According to Ali, "the return of direct flights between Russian cities and the two Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh is set to increase Egypt's tourism revenues by at least $2 billion."
"Before 2015, Russian tourists were at the top of tourist arrivals in Egypt, and once they are back I think they will be the main force in the coming stage," said Ali, adding that "Russian tourists are very important for the Egyptian economy because they are a major earner of foreign exchange revenues," said Ali.
MP Sahar Talaat Mostafa, the chair of the Egyptian Russian Business Council, also said in a statement that the return of direct flights between Russian cities and the two Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh after a six-year hiatus comes after a long period of cooperation between Russian and Egyptian authorities.
"Egypt has done all it can to make sure that direct flights between Russia and Egyptian Red Sea tourist resorts operate smoothly and that Russian tourists enjoy holidays in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh," said Mostafa.
According to Mostafa, Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh are expected to see 20 direct flights from Russian cities.
"The national carrier EgyptAir alone is expected to run 10 weekly flights, not to mention that Russian airlines will also run 10 direct flights, and in total we expect that as many as 9,000 Russian tourists will visit Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh a week," said Mostafa, adding that "Russian tourism is very important for Egypt and its economy and this explains why Egyptian authorities did their best over the last few years to regain the confidence of Russian tourists."