By Doaa Farid
The tourism minister’s office confirms that Holland, Belgium and the Czech Republic removed travel alerts to the regions of Red Sea, South Sinai and North of Aqaba.
Hisham Ali, the chairman of Touristic Investors Association in South Sinai said that this is considered a positive step. “We hope that other countries remove their travel bans to Egypt too,” he said.
Ali pointed out that the slump in the tourism sector increased after the travel alerts, but it is expected to decrease in the coming period.
“Problems in the tourism sector will decrease because it can’t be worse,” he said.
Meanwhile, the German tourism company, Thomas Cook, announced on 18 September that it will resume tours to Egypt starting from the end of September, according to state-run Ahram Online.
In a meeting at the Egyptian embassy in Berlin this month with 74 executives of tourism companies and German diplomats, the Egyptian Ambassador in Germany said that he is looking forward to seeing Germany’s support and cooperation with Egypt in achieving a successful tourism season.
As a result of the escalating violence earlier in August, some European travel agencies cancelled their trips to Egypt. Also, the governments of Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Sweden and Italy warned travel agencies to stop selling holiday packages to Egypt amid fears of violence after the dispersal of sit-ins carried out by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Reuters reported earlier in August that Air Berlin would not accept new bookings to Egypt until 15 September.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou, in a global press conference in August organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that in the next phase, Egypt will work more on promoting beach tourism in the Red Sea, especially Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada, as they are “quite far from the escalating political events in the country.”
Ministers of Tourism and Civil Aviation and Antiquities, in their meeting with the Japanese ambassador this month, have called on the Japanese government to reconsider a travel ban placed on Egypt.
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced earlier this month that the number of international tourist arrivals to Egypt in July decreased by 24.5% year on year, totalling 765,000, compared to the one million arriving in July 2012.