Does Israeli tourism contribute to bridging the gap created by the war in Ukraine?

14/04 12:38

As Egypt’s tourism sector struggles with war in Ukraine, the first direct flight from Israel will land in Sharm el-Sheikh this month, potentially boosting the number of Israeli tourists to Egypt’s coastal resorts in the Sinai Peninsula as media celebrates Israelis . newspapers, including Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post.

Egypt is currently seeking alternative tourism markets as part of a government plan to increase the number of tourists in a bid to save the vital sector affected by the Russian war in Ukraine, as the war halted the flow of tourists from both countries. , which accounts for one third of the total number of tourists in Egypt per year, as an indicator of a real crisis in the tourism sector.

Tourism accounts for nearly 12% of Egypt’s GDP and is one of the main sources of foreign currency.Meanwhile, Egypt and Israel agreed last month to operate direct flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm el-Sheikh south of the Sinai Peninsula. , where the best resorts of Egypt overlook the sea.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has announced that direct flights are expected to begin next April, while the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has not issued any official announcement in this regard.

According to Israel, the two countries reached an agreement when an Israeli delegation led by Shin Bet visited Egypt in September 2021 to discuss with the Egyptian side the safety and security of the new flight route. In 2021, the Egyptian authorities completed the construction of a 36-kilometer concrete and wire wall around the Sharm El Sheikh resort. Announced in 2019, to bolster security at a popular coastal attraction in an effort to attract tourists, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Bennett announced the opening of an airfield during an Israeli prime minister’s first official visit to Egypt in Sharm al-Sheikh in September 2021.

Tel Aviv believes that increasing the number of flights between the two countries would strengthen relations and the state-owned EgyptAir company in Egypt operates direct flights between Tel Aviv and Cairo.

Israel Airlines also indicated last month that it intends to operate 15 weekly flights on the Tel Aviv-Sharm el-Sheikh route after obtaining the necessary approvals, and Israeli tourists wishing to visit Sharm El-Sheikh typically use private planes, buses or taxis. .

Paul Rivlin, a visiting professor of Middle East economics at Emory University, told Al-Monitor that direct flights between the two countries have great potential to boost Israeli tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh and help Egypt overcome some of the the effects of the russian war. in Ukraine, and seaside resorts in Sinai are the most attractive destinations for tourists.More than 700,000 Israeli tourists visited Egypt in 2019, according to data from the Israeli embassy in Egypt.

Egyptian tourism experts who spoke to Haaretz believe that operating direct flights between Egypt and Israel will increase the number of tourists coming to Egypt, but will not be enough to offset the losses accumulated by the tourism sector over the years. Egypt reached $ 2.8 billion in the period from July to September 2021, according to the country’s central bank, compared to $ 801 million for the same period last fiscal year.

Egypt hoped for a better tourist season this year as most countries in the world ease the restrictions imposed on COVID-19. However, the Russian war in Ukraine placed an additional burden on tourism, which is a major source of national income in Egypt, as Egypt was one of the first countries to start receiving tourists in July 2020, while strict precautions for stop the spread of the Corona virus was based on the world level, in an effort to save the shaky tourism sector and tourism revenues fell by 70% in the same year due to the epidemic and subsequent closure of many tourist facilities and hotels and travel. and mobility restrictions affecting most countries in the world.Despite this, tourism revenues in Egypt reached 4 billion The country received 3.5 million tourists that year, while tourism revenues reached $ 13 billion in 2019, with more than 13 million tourists.

The report suggested that direct flights between Egypt and Israel could boost Israeli tourism in the country over time, but he also called for the need to target other markets in Europe and East Asia. and Latin American countries.Only Israeli tourism will not compensate for the Egyptian losses caused by the war in Ukraine and the epidemic.It seems we will see the smallest number of tourists visiting Egypt over the years.

Last month, the government launched the “Follow the Sun” advertising campaign on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, to attract tourists from the UK, Germany, Italy, France and the United States after Ukrainian tourists left due to of war. March 22 that charter flights landing in Egypt will continue to receive cash support from the government until the end of October. These amounts range from $ 1,500 to $ 3,500 for airline flights. The support program, which aims to boost tourism, was scheduled to end in April, with less than two million tourists expected to visit Egypt this year, a 50% drop from 2020.

Expectations for a poor tourist season this year are changing after Russia’s major tourism company Biblio Globes resumed its flights to Egypt after 300 Russian tourists arrived in Hurghada on April 3 – the first such trip since the start of the war. Russian in Ukraine. The flight was operated directly from Zhukovsky International Airport to Hurghada International Airport via Red Wings Airlines, a regional airline, instead of Russian Airlines, and for Russian tourists wishing to travel to Egypt, his visit is extended by four days or more. , and Russian companies expected to increase flights to Egypt, coinciding with Moscow authorities’ decision to lift coronavirus restrictions on scheduled and charter flights to 52 “friendly” countries, including Egypt, as of April 9, Russian agency of news. TASS reported, citing Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Red Wings offers two flights a week to Hurghada from April 3 to 10, and from April 13, the tour operator will offer four flights a week. In 2019, the second largest number of tourists visiting Egypt came from Ukraine, with 1.6 million tourists. , an increase of 32% compared to a year ago.

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