No tourist cancellations due to upcoming polls: Official

Dalia Farouk, Wednesday 16 Nov 2011

On the eve of Egypt's first post-revolution election, officials say it will be business as usual for the struggling local tourism sector

Tourists build a sand pyramid at a closed beach in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik (Photo: AP)

British Airways will not cancel any flights to or from Egypt during Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary polls slated to begin on 28 November, said BA Regional Manager Mervat Alfy.

Alfy said that there might be a drop in the number of flights from the UK to Egypt during elections, but added that no official instructions to this effect had been issued by British authorities.

According to Egypt’s tourism ministry, there have been no recent cancellations or reductions in the volume of Cairo-bound flights.

Meanwhile, Hossam El-Shaer, chairman of the tourism division at the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce, denied reports that Russian carriers had halted their scheduled flights to Egypt.

Russians tourists accounted for some 30 per cent of the 14.7 million tourists that visited Egypt in 2010, representing the largest tourist influx of a single nationality. British tourists came in second at 15 per cent of total tourist arrivals, followed by travellers from Germany and Italy.

Along with Egypt’s strategic Suez Canal, tourism has traditionally represented one of the country’s top foreign currency earners, generating some $12.5 billion in revenue last year.

The industry suffered a major blow early this year, however, following the wave of popular unrest that led to the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak and a subsequent security vacuum.  

The US, UK and Russian governments have not placed any official travel restrictions on Egypt. Nevertheless, they have advised citizens travelling to Egypt to follow security updates and avoid political rallies and marches. 

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