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Italy-Egypt flights to resume 15 July

Image of EgyptAir plane [Alf van Beem/Wikipedia]
EgyptAir plane [Alf van Beem/Wikipedia]

Italian flights to and from Egypt are set to resume on 15 July, according to Egypt’s tourism federation.

Chairperson of the federation Ahmed Al-Wasef said that several Egyptian hotels have already received bookings from Italian tourist companies, reports the state-run Al-Ahram.

In a bid to reopen Egypt’s tourism sector hit badly by the corona crisis after the country shut down all international flights, the government has pushed out several incentives to lure tourists back to the country.

Authorities are offering discounts for foreign airlines, 50 per cent on airport taxes and 20 per cent on ground services.

Entry to museums will also be discounted by 50 per cent and tourist visa requirements for resort areas will be waived.

READ: ‘Italy betrayed us’ says mother of Regeni over Egypt arms deal

Authorities recently announced that the country would open up to tourism on 1 July including Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Marsa Matruh as it rolls out a plan to coexist with the virus.

However, critics have questioned this decision given that Egypt is still averaging around 1,400 new infections daily.

On Monday there were 85 fatalities from the virus according to the health ministry, however many believe the actual figures to be far higher due to a concerted effort on the part of security forces to control the narrative.

Doctors have complained about the lack of testing, PPE and isolation units since the start of the pandemic and the country’s medial union have warned the healthcare system is about to collapse.

Doctors who have spoken out publicly about these issues have been arrested. In March, Dr Aalaa Shaaban was reported to national security forces for spreading fear and panic after a nurse on her ward used her phone to call the health ministry to report a covid case.

Around the time the first case was detected in Egypt, Tourism Minister Khaled Al-Anani said the country could lose $1 billion a month from tourism revenues.

READ: Egypt prisoner Alaa Abdelfattah’s family beaten outside Tora Prison

All the major sources of revenue in Egypt have been hard hit by the cornavirus pandemic, including tourism, trade from the Suez Canal and remittances from Egyptians abroad.

Tourism already took a major hit after the coup in 2013 and the severe human rights abuses that followed.

Some Egyptian tour operators have expressed concern that it will take time to claw back revenue if they operate at 50 per cent capacity for a short summer season.

There are also concerns that the mandatory quarantine restrictions some European countries require for returning citizens and warnings from some not to travel outside Europe will further restrict visitors.

AfricaCoronavirusEgyptEurope & RussiaItalyNews
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