Egyptian tourism minister to request removal of Russian travel warnings

Dalia Farouk, Tuesday 17 Sep 2013

Egyptian tourism minister asks Moscow to cancel travel warnings on Egypt, in place since 15 August

A tour bus passes near the historical Giza Pyramids, near Cairo, Egypt. (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou will ask the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry to remove its travel warnings on Egypt while participating in the 19th Leisure Tourism exhibition in Moscow on Tuesday.

Zaazou hopes to persuade Russian officials to lift the travel warnings imposed on 15 August or exclude the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates, which he considers safe areas for tourism.

The minister said that he would also be meeting with Russian travel agencies as part of a large-scale public relations campaign in Russia that includes an advertising campaign in underground stations, on buses and in the media.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced travel warnings on Egypt following the violent disbursement of two sit-ins in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on 14 August. Ongoing instability has led a number of countries to follow suit. For example, Japan has maintained strict travel warnings on Egypt, resulting in EgyptAir suspending its flights to Osaka and reducing flights to Japan.

According to Zaazou, Egypt received 2.5 million Russian tourists in 2012, close to the peak year of 2010, when the country attracted 2.8 million Russian tourists. Overall, the tourism sector received a record high of 17.4 million tourists in 2010. The number fell to 10 million tourists following the revolution in 2011, and tentatively recovered to 11.5 million tourists in 2012.

Egyptian business daily Al Mal reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of Tourism has revealed that the Egyptian tourism sector saw revenues of $5.3 billion from January to August this year compared to $6 billion in the same period last year.

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