An official at the Ministry of Tourism said British EasyJet Airways will resume its flights from England to Sharm El-Sheikh in May 2016.
According to the official, Control Risks, the company in charge of reviewing of airports security procedures, will complete the evaluation process for airports of Marsa Alam and Sharm El-Sheikh on 28 April and the review process is in full swing.
The number of British tourists in Egypt declined over the last year by 4% reaching 869,000. Russian tourists have declined by 24% during the past year bringing their number down to 2.3m tourists.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Private Aviation Association agreed to launch flights to 12 European, Asian, and African countries. The first of these flights will begin in April, the official said and that these markets are very promising for Egypt.
The ministry plans to launch a public relations campaign in the Italian market to communicate with the media at the end of March. Egypt lost 90% of the Italian market reservations after finding Giulio Regeni dead in January, according to the official.
“Launching the PR campaign depends on the result of investigations conducted by the Ministry of Interior,” the official said. The number of Italian tourists arriving in Egypt in 2015 declined by 17% compared to 2014 to 332,000 arrivals. The official expects the number to continue declining in light of the Russian place crash on 31 October 2015.
Britain and Russia halted their flights to Egypt in November 2015 until the disclosure of the circumstances of the plane bombing. The official said Italians tend to visit Egypt during the summer between July and September and Italy has been one of the top Egyptian tourism exporters over the past five years.
The North Coast and Marsa Alam are the most popular spots for Italians in Egypt but occupancies in Marsa Alam fell to less than 30% after the death of Regeni. Marsa Alam has about 15,000 hotel rooms, according to the Egyptian Hotels Association. The north Coast and Alexandria have a total capacity of 5,000 rooms.
Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) Elhamy El-Zayat said British tourism will return to Sharm El-Sheikh at the beginning of Egypt’s tourism recovery.
Egypt is determined to recover tourism and contracting with Control Risks to review airport security operations is vital. El-Zayat believes the tourism sector is capable of resolving the hard currency crisis the Egyptian economy is facing at the moment.
The dollar exchange rate exceeded EGP 9.8 on the parallel market this week. Tourism accounts for a third of the proceeds of dollar inflows to Egypt, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
The government is counting on the return of tourism to treat the current economic situation and increase rates of employment. El-Zayat said there were more 3.5 million workers in the sector before 25 January 2011. “But now it has become worse,” he said.