Russia has formed one of Egypt’s largest tourism markets this year, sending 2.4 million tourists to Egypt, according to Elhamy Zayat, head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism. He added that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia on Tuesday represented a means to promote Egyptian tourist resorts.
Russian tourists tend to visit Egypt three times per year and prefer coastal areas on the Red Sea like Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Sharm El-Sheikh, according to Zayat.
He added that the groups within the Russian market that visit Egyptian resorts must be studied, especially now.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has agreed with the Federation of Private Airlines to operate direct routes from the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, according to Chairman of AlMasria Universal Airlines Hassan Aziz.
Aziz said that his company plans to operate 12 flights to the two Russian cities in October, and aims to transport 150,000 passengers annually.
“Russia is a promising market for Egypt, especially in the winter months due to intense competition with Turkey in the summer,” Aziz said.
Egypt is capable of attracting 3 million tourists from Russia per year, but it depends on the return of security and stability to the country, according to Aziz.
Incoming tourist traffic to Egypt during the first half of this year fell to 4.5 million, a decrease of 25% from the same period last year.
Russian tourists do not spend more than $50 per night in Egypt, according to the Chairman of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism Elhamy El-Zayat, who added that Russians “prefer touring beaches over cultural tourism in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan”.
Ahmed Shiha, head of the Egyptian-Russian Business Council, has stated that the volume of trade between Russia and Egypt is about $1bn per year.
According to Shiha, Egypt has few chances to change its weak presence in the Russian market, given the fierce competition from industrialised countries that have a stronger presence, among them China, Malaysia, and European countries.
He added that he believes there is also a great opportunity to increase trade exchange between the two countries by upgrading the standards for agricultural exports of fruits and vegetables.
Exports of agricultural crops from Egypt to Russia amounted to 627,000 tons in the last season, according to Trade and Industry Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.