World Tourism Organisation calls on UK to lift flight ban on Sharm El-Sheikh
Dalia Farouq, Tuesday 29 Nov 2016

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) called on the UK government Tuesday to lift the ban on UK flights to Sharm El-Sheikh.

In a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, the two organisations stressed the importance of resuming flights to the Egyptian coastal resort, saying that the ban is having devastating effects on Egypt’s economy and social stability.

The UK flight ban was put in place after the October 2015 crash of a Russian airliner in Sinai shortly after it took off from Sharm El-Sheikh.

“Travel and tourism is vital to Egypt's economy and social peace, contributing 11 percent of the country's GDP and 2.6 million in jobs in 2015,” the letter said, adding that the drop in tourism has created huge employment losses.

“The country's biggest concern is how the lack of employment opportunities, especially for young men and women, has instilled a desperate disposition and thus vulnerability to radicalisation or to fleeing on a refugee boat,” the letter said.

The letter added that Egyptian authorities have taken significant measures to “step up the level of security” in airports and the surrounding areas.