It seems that Egypt has lost hope in the revival of tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh. “Egypt has seemingly given up hope that the UK’s flight ban to its popular winter sun destination of Sharm el-Sheikh will be lifted in the near future, with a new campaign focusing on the country’s alternative destinations instead,” said The Telegraph, a British newspaper.
The country’s tourist board is seeking to highlight the Red Sea coasts resort as the city of Hurghada and Marsa Alam resort, rather than Sharm el-Sheikh.
Sharm el-Sheikh remains closed to UK airlines by the British government ever since the crash of a Russian charter jet in the Sinai Desert in November 2015.
The Egyptian Tourism Authority is also marketing to British holidaymakers the “White Med”, a stretch of the African country Mediterranean coast.
The British Government has refused to lift the ban on flights to Sharm el-Sheikh despite recommendations from its own cross-party parliamentary group on Egypt that it should, as well as millions of pounds of security investment from Egyptian authorities, and an apparent understanding from the Department of Transport that it would be safe to do so.
In this context, Tourism minister Mohamed Yehia Rashed said, “I’m hopeful that the British Government will lift [the ban] but I respect the Government for taking whatever decision is appropriate for its own citizens.”
It is worth to mention that the scores of hotels have been forced to close in Sharm el-Sheikh resort and thousands of workers have been laid off as a result. Egyptian officials estimated the damage at around £10billion in lost revenue.
On Monday, the Egyptian ambassador Nasser Kamel told the World Travel Market that the airport at Sharm el-Sheikh was now safer than some British airports and called on the Government to lift the ban.
Egypt has been battling to revive the badly-affected tourism sector after years of political turmoil, following the military coup in 2013. Later, the situation became worse by the Russian plane crash, which killed all 224 passengers and crew on board, most of them Russian tourists.
Sinai Province- a group affiliated with the Islamic State- has claimed their responsibility for downing the Russian plane.
As a result, different countries have placed travel bans on flights to Egypt’s destinations and demanded certain security measures be implemented in Egyptian airports for the resumption of direct flights to be considered.