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Egypt opened. Slightly

08:07, 1 апреля 2011

MFA of Russia recalled its advice against travel to Egypt which had been in place since January 28. The resolution published on the ministry’s website touches on “the prime Red Sea resorts” of Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh, where the conditions are “considered normal”. In this connection MFA recommends Russian tourists that are going for holidays to Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh should exercise caution and abstain from travel to other regions of Egypt. “We also recommend group trips to Egyptian resort areas rather than individual ones, and they should be booked through reputable and reliable tour operators that are featured in the Unitary Federal Register.

The latter phrase may be considered to be an official recommendation to citizens to travel to Egypt only via travel companies, which is actually good for the travel sector. On the other hand it is not clear if it’s been allowed to come to “not prime” Red Sea resorts e.g. Dahab or Taba. As for the sightseeing trips to Cairo they have been definitely banned. But it’s not a problem, the sea and the sun – that’s what the Russians come to Egypt for.      

Anyway the tour operators were ready to start the flights “even tomorrow” if all the aviation formalities have been settled. In reality the Head of Pegas Turistik company Ms. Anna Podgornaya expects to send two Orenburg Airlines flights to Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh on April 2. Tez Tour, according to the company’s general representative Mr. Alexander Sinigibsky, gradually resumes the flights to the same resorts starting from April 3 and hopes to operate daily flights from April 15.

Coral and Intourist look up to Transaero. The airline’s Press Secretary Mr. Sergey Bykhal revealed to RATA-news that the flights were to be resumed on April 8 – 7 services a week to Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh. Next week the tickets will be released to general public.

Tour operators anticipate their Egypt-bound flight programs to be completely resumed within 2-3 weeks. As for the occupancy rate the travel companies count on deferred demand or as Mr. Sinigibsky puts it “waiting” demand. Many travel companies have provisional waiting lists for customers wishing to fly to Egypt “as soon as possible”. These very tourists have been contacted by Pegas’s agents in order to fill two Saturday flights, carrying 220 passengers each.

Generally speaking in terms of weather Egypt remains a perfect option for beach holiday. Neither Turkey, nor Europe can offer “amounts” of sunshine that Russians are so desperate to come by. But on the other hand during of “the blockade” the demand partly switched to other destinations, some have already spent their vacation in other countries, so not all travel companies are confident about the volume of sales that can be considered acceptable. So everybody count on Egyptian prices. 

Today a trip to Hurghada or Sharm-el-Sheikh can be bought for 20-30% less than in last April, mostly thanks to hotels’ pliancy. As likely as not the hotels of Taba and Dahab, that haven’t been mentioned in MFA’s resolution, may offer even lower prices to attract Russian tourists. One way or another Egypt has only 4-6 weeks. Usually after the May holidays the tourist flow to Egypt weakens significantly as the Turkish and the European resorts start to be regarded as competitors. But Egypt still has a chance to keep up with them. If it stakes on summer season and offers “surprisingly” low prices trying to win on extra services, the tourist flow may easily take a turn towards Egypt.

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