A prominent official from the Ministry of Tourism participating in ITB Berlin travel trade show said Thomas Cook’s decision to postpone resuming its flights to Sharm El Sheikh until October 2016 will negatively affect the flow of tourists to Egypt.
ITB Berlin was held on Wednesday and will continue until the beginning of next week.
The decline in European tourism will exceed 80% this year due to the suspension of flights from Britain and Russia in the wake of the Russian plane crash in October 2015, according to the official.
The official, who requested to remain anonymous, said the Egyptian delegation participating in the show is experiencing uncertainty due to the conditions the state is going through, the death of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, and its impact on Egypt’s reputation.
European tourism to Egypt represents approximately 72% of the total annual flow, according to Chairman of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism Elhamy El-Zayat. He expected the Egyptian tourism sector to recover starting October 2016, coinciding with the decision to resume trips to Egypt.
“We will work on holding meetings with international tourism companies that are interested in the Egyptian market,” Board Member of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism Nagy Erian said. The German market has not imposed any restrictions on the tourism movement coming to Egypt, compared to the British or Russian market.
The numbers of tourists coming to Egypt retreated during 2015 to 9.3 million compared to 9.9 million during 2014.
Control Risks company is conducting evaluations for the security measures at Marsa Alam and Sharm El-Sheikh airports as a first step, to be followed by Hurghada and Cairo airports at a later stage.
Egypt’s tourism income represents 11.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP).