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Fears grow that Russia invasion of Ukraine will hit Egypt’s tourism sector hard

March 1, 2022 at 10:49 am

A picture taken on September 29, 2021 shows Russian tourists in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

As the Russian war in Ukraine continues, fears are growing in Egypt about the effect the fighting will have on its economy as it recovers from the global coronavirus pandemic.

Russian and Ukrainian tourists make up around 40 per cent of the total number of tourists who visit Egypt and numbers had already started to wane in February as news of a potential conflict played out.

In August last year the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) announced that the Egyptian economy was losing roughly $2 million a day because of being included on the UK’s red travel list.

The WTTC said that the pandemic had led to the loss of 844,000 travel and tourism jobs across the north African state.

Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khalid Al-Anani said last year that the tourism industry saw revenues drop $9 billion in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

READ: First Egyptian injured during Russia invasion as Arab students scramble to leave Ukraine

Last year, tourism revenues exceeded $13 billion, reports Al Araby, returning to pre-pandemic levels, but the forecast for this year is now uncertain.

It is thought that the invasion will cost the country around 1.5 million tourists from Russia and Ukraine as popular red sea resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada have already seen a 50 per cent decline in tourists from these two countries.

The closure of airspace, sanctions and the hit Russia and Ukraine will take on their economies are also likely to affect the flow of tourists to Egypt.

The tourism industry took another hit back in 2015 after Daesh put a bomb on board a Russian aeroplane heading from Sharm El-Sheikh to St Petersburg killing all 224 passengers on board.

Russia suspended flights to Egypt until eventually resuming them in 2021.