Egypt will suspend all flight from 19 to 31 March, as part of the state’s efforts to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Monday.
Madbouly revealed that the decision will result in huge losses for Egyptian airlines exceeding EGP 2.25bn, stressing that the state’s top priority is the safety of the citizens.
He added that all tourist facilities in the country will be sterilised and disinfected over the next two weeks.
Yasser Sultan, the member of the Chamber of Tourism Companies and the General Manager of Egyptian Valley Tours, praised Madbouly’s decision explaining to Daily News Egypt that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, his company’s flight reservations decreased by 80%.
He said that what encourages people to travel are the availability of flights, mentioning that on the other hand currently 60-70% of countries have suspended their flights.
Sultan estimates financial losses for companies operating in flight reservations at about EGP 400-500bn.
He expected that if the situation lasted any longer, many tourism companies and airlines agencies will announce their bankruptcy.
“The sector has overcome a lot of different challenges including the 25 January Revolution, the terrorist attacks, 30 June Revolution, etc, as we were always finding alternative including Umrah trips, internal tourism trips, etc, but currently the problem is all over the world with no alternatives,” he said in a disappointed tone.
He stated that after everything is back to normal, the travellers themselves will take time to have the confidence to travel again, mentioning that travelling is about having fun, and to have fun, the traveler must have a sense of safety in all terms including health .
Talking about the occupancy rates in Sharm El sheikh and Hurghada, Chairperson of the Egyptian Hotels Association in Red Sea, Alaa Akel, stated that the occupancy rate in Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh is very limited due to the COVID-19 outbreak, explaining that most of the countries that export tourists to Sharm El Sheikh have currently stopped travel. He praised the decision stating that the state’s priority is to always protect citizens.
“The tourism sector is always the first sector to be impacted over any shock and the last one to recover,” Sultan concluded.