CAIRO : Egypt called for removing the British flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh Airport saying that they are in contact with the UK technical teams concerning the security and safety measures at the airport, Egyptian ambassador to the U.K. Tareq Adel told BBC.
On October 31, 2015, the UK, along with a number of European countries and Russia, suspended direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh Airport, few hours after a Russian plane from airport to St. St Petersburg was bombed by Islamic State militant group in Sinai, killing all 224 on board. Since then, Egypt has considerably tightened their security measures in all airports nationwide.
Over the last two years, some countries resumed their flights to Egypt’s airports, including Aharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada Airports. The UK resumed its flights to Egypt except for Sham el-Sheikh Aiport, while Russia announced recently that their direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada Airports will resume soon.
Following the flight and travel ban to Egypt and Sharm el Sheikh Airport, inbound tourism to Egypt was dramatically reduced. The tourism sector is one of Egypt’s main foreign currency earners.
Tourist inflow to Egypt peaked in 2010, when 14.7 million tourists visited the country, but the number fell to 4.5 million in 2016.
Russian and British tourists capture the largest portion of tourist inflows to Egypt; According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the Russian tourist inflow to Egypt reached its peak in 2014, with tourists recording 3.1 million. Following the Russian plane crash, this number plummeted to 2.38 million in 2015.
The British tourist inflow used to range between 800,000 to one million tourists, but this number also declined after the suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. British flights are now limited to the tourist landmarks in the Red Sea and the Upper Egyptian cities of Luxor and Aswan.