Egypt is celebrating a spectacular recovery as German tourists flock back to the Red Sea for beach holidays, although British and Russian visitors still face restrictions. German arrivals jumped an estimated 40 per cent to a new record of 1.7 million last year, while international arrivals are estimated to have risen 35 per cent to 11.2 million, according to fvw Destination Ranking figures.
Tourism minister Rania Al-Mashat expects to set another record this year. “We had a 15 per cent increase in bookings in the German market in January and overall I expect double-digit growth for the whole year,” she said at ITB.
The minister also hopes that British and Russian charter flights will be allowed to return soon. “We have met all the security standards and are open for a return of business,” she said. British prime minister Theresa May herself flew to Sharm for a recent EU-Arab League summit, the minister pointed out. Some Russian tour operators are getting round their country’s flight ban by flying customers first to Antalya and then onwards to Sharm and Hurghada with Turkish carriers.
Al-Mashat is supporting tour operators and airlines by extending subsidies for charter flights until 2020. In addition, a new airport will start receiving flights at Berenice, south of Marsa Alam, this year, opening a new region for tourism development.