The Ministry of Tourism has suspended Egypt’s promotional campaign indefinitely in six major countries that export tourists to the country, until investigations into the Russian plane crash incident are completed.
Sources at the ministry said Russia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, and France, are the countries that export the most tourists to Egypt.
The tourism ministry was set to launch a promotional campaign on Egypt’s hotels, resorts, and archaeological sites on Monday, at the WTM London exhibition taking place this week.
Sources working the field of hospitality said, in a phone call from London, that the campaign was completely suspended, and that the decision is not limited to the six countries that have the largest share of the tourism flow to Egypt.
A civilian Russian plane crashed last Saturday in a desert area south of Al-Arish city in Sinai, killing all 224 passengers on board.
The sources added that Egypt’s presence in the WTM London exhibition is confusing, in spite of the participation of 72 hotels and travel agencies.
They said international tourism companies are keeping an eye on the investigations, given that the incident took place less than two months after the killing of Mexican tourists in the Western Desert mid-September.
The Russian airline company Metrojet denied that any technical failures took place during takeoff; however, it will await the investigation results.
Meanwhile, agencies have said the Kremlin is not ruling out the possibility that the plane was targeted by a terrorist attack in its investigations.
European tourism to Egypt amounts to 72% out of the total tourism movement to Egypt annually, while Arab tourism represents 20%.
Head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Sami Mahmoud said the Minister of Tourism did not cancel his visit to the WTM London exhibition. “The trip was just postponed for more than four hours due to bad weather in London,” he said.
Russian tourism stands as the most important market for Egypt, as Russian visitors to Egypt amounted to 3.1 million tourists in the last year, achieving $2.5bn out of the $7.3bn in tourism income in 2014.
Economic Consultant to the Minister of Tourism Adla Ragab said although Russian tourism declined by 10% during the first three seasons this year compared to last year, it still tops the tourism flow to Egypt.
A total of 2.05 million Russian tourists visited Egypt this year, according to Ragab.