Colliers International has issued a report regarding the impact on tourism in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh of the Russian passenger jet crash in Sinai on 31 October.
According to the report, which covers the period from November 2015 to January 2016, tourism demand is expected to drop by about 59% in Sharm El-Sheikh and 55% in Hurghada, while demand in Cairo and Alexandria will continue to grow.
The downing of Metrojet 9268 caused European tourism to completely withdraw from Egypt, the reports says, forcing Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh to rely on domestic tourism on the short-term. The report, however, anticipated a recovery in the medium-term for hotels and resorts.
The Colliers report said demand in Cairo is expected to grow by about 34% and Alexandria by 16% during the three months under study.
Despite a general European reluctance to visit Egypt, Alexandria will not be affected, because the demand is driven by various business sectors, including tourism, exhibitions and conferences.
In mid-November, the Ministry of Tourism launched domestic tourism programmes for Egyptians to visit Sharm El-Sheikh. They are in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the South Sinai Investors’ Association, with prices from EGP 300 to EGP 3,500 per programme, according to hotel categories.
The Russian plane crashed in Sinai late October, killing all 224 Russian passengers on board. The British government and Russia halted all flights to Sharm El-Sheikh until the cause of the crash was disclosed.
According to an official, the Ministry of Tourism hopes to complete security procedures in Sharm El-Sheikh Airport by mid-December and for British and Russian tourism to return in the beginning of January of 2016.
Russian tourism accounts for about 35% and British tourism represents 11% of the total inbound tourism to Egypt.
Inbound tourism is expected to recover by February, the official said, “However, it depends on the security reports that will be issued by foreign delegations measuring airport security.”
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou said that Egypt’s losses from the halted British and Russian flights are an estimated EGP 6.6bn over three months. He also anticipated the tourism income would drop to $6bn from last year’s $7.3bn.
Hesham Ali, head of the Tourism Investors Association in South Sinai, said tourism will recover again and that Egypt has all the requirements for strong tourism. “I see a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Meetings with major tour operators are ongoing to discuss the return of British and Russian flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, Ali said.