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Egypt’s tourism ministry has approved an increase in incentives for charter airlines for every flight carrying a certain number of passengers on international flights coming to Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Matrouh, Taba, and Alamein, deputy tourism minister Adla Ragab told Al-Shorouk Tuesday.
The minister said that the incentive has been increased to $3,000 from $2,000 per flight provided each plane is carrying a minimum number of passengers.
The announcement came on the sidelines of the international travel trade show World Travel Market in London, which is running until Wednesday.
The incentives are part of the ministry’s efforts to revive tourism in Egypt, along with local and international tourism campaigns and the tightening of security procedures at Egyptian airports.
The number of tourists who visited Egypt in the first half of the year was 3.5 mn tourists, a 52.3% y-o-y increase compared to the same period last year, according to Tourism Ministry data.
The numbers are still below the record number of 14.7 million tourists in Egypt in 2010.
Ragab also said the ministry will pay off all dues to foreign charter airlines as part of the incentive programme approved last year.
In 2016, the tourism ministry reduced the requirement of filling charter flights to qualify for incentives to 50 percent from 70 percent for flights to El-Alamein, Marsa Matrouh, Luxor and Aswan, and reduced incentives to $2,000 from $3,000 per flight, Al-Borsa reported at the time.
The tourism sector has recently seen a revival with an increase in flight booking for most Egyptian tourist destinations, and is expected to see a full recovery to pre-2011 levels by next year, Egyptian Tourism Authority Chairman Hisham El-Demery at the event.
British tourism in Egypt has also seen a revival recently, El-Demery said.
On Tuesday, an Egyptian delegation of tourism representatives met with UK tour operators, as well as German operator FTI, to discuss increasing flights to Egyptian destinations including Hurghada, Luxor, and Marsa Alam.
A session titled ‘Egypt Tourism: A Bright Outlook’ was held on Monday at the travel trade show, followed by an Egyptian Tourism Authority Press Reception and Networking event.
A meeting between tourism minister Yehia Rashed and Thomas Cook representatives is also scheduled for Wednesday, according to Al-Shorouk.
FTI and Thomas Cook have announced that they are doubling their weekly flights to Cairo from 70 to 144 starting this month, according to Al-Shorouk.
Last week, Thomas Cook resumed flights from Birmingham to Marsa Alam.
Tour operators have been calling on the UK government to lift a ban on UK flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, El-Demery said.
The UK imposed the ban following the crash of a Russian charter jet in November 2015, which killed all 224 people on board. Egypt has repeatedly called on the UK to lift the ban.