Egyptian tourism inhales after four European countries – Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland – have lifted travel restrictions that they have imposed on South Sinai governorate of Egypt since the downing of the Russian passenger jet. The travel ban was introduced in 2015 and it will be lifted starting Thursday (16 February). Denmark was first to initiate this move and it is believed that it would prompt other European countries to follow. Mohamed al-Hassanein, member of the tourism companies’ chamber in the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, said that the Egyptian market would feel the positives of the decision by the beginning of October.
British travel agency Thomas Cook said that the demand for vacation in Egypt is going up again after security concerns had discouraged policy makers to opt for other destinations. This effect was further exacerbated by the downing of the Russian plane in October 2015, which killed all 224, mostly Russian, passengers on board. As a result, a number of countries have banned flights to Egypt’s destinations and imposed some security measures to be considered. Russia halted all flights with Egypt after the tragedy and Cairo in turn agreed to accept several Russian experts who inspected the security features at Egyptian airports. Russian authorities also commented that they looked forward to resuming tourism to Egyptian resorts.
Tourism is one of the leading sources of income for the Egyptian economy, contributing more than 10% of the country’s gross domestic product. At its peak in 2010, it employed about 12% of the work force, serving almost 15 million visitors annually. In an attempt to bring tourists back, Egypt announced a new marketing campaign at the end of 2016, which will cost 3 million euros over the span of three years.