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Tourism Returns as International Flights Land in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh

Tourism Returns as International Flights Land in Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh

Sharm El Sheikh Airport

In line with the government’s decree to resume international flight operations as of July 1, two Ukrainian flights have become the first to arrive to the country following the three-months hiatus of airport operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two Ukranian flights, from airlines Azur Air and SkyUp, arrived to the cities of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, having carried over 170 passengers each, according to state outlets Al Masry Al Youm and Al Ahram.

At the end of June, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar announced that international flight operations would resume as of July, bringing hope that summertime, a popular time for travelling worldwide, could still bring international travelers and holiday-makers to the country as sanctions gradually lift in other countries as well.

Supporting the decision, EgyptAir – Egypt’s popularly used national airline – is resuming its flight operations in July with 29 destinations routes set to and from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is also scrapping tourist visa fees for the governorates of South Sinai, Marsa Matrouh and the Red Sea until October 31, in a gesture meant at encouraging tourists back to the country.

The famous Abu Galum beach near Dahab in South Sinai

The three governorates are deemed more suitable for touristic activities than condensed and crowded cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria, especially during the pandemic where transmission rates are high. However, this has not stopped the government from maximizing and proliferating opportunities for tourism in other parts of the country.

Indeed, on Wednesday, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo re-opened its doors to visitors, with likewise plans for the iconic Karnak temple in Luxor, the Giza plateau and Saladin Citadel, as per Al Ahram. Moreover, the newly-renovated Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, as well as the Sphinx International Airport, were both inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Tuesday.

Photo credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Facebook page

The surge of renewed activity came as soon as Egypt was given the green light to resume tourism by The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC),; it also offered the country the Safe Travel Stamp.

Moreover, the government recently lifted its partial curfew hours and has adopted a ‘co-existence with the virus’ stance despite COVID-19 cases reaching almost 70,000 with a death toll approaching 3,000, according to figures from John Hopkins University.

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