World Bulletin/News Desk
A Russian delegation will visit Egypt on Thursday to assess the local security situation before lifting a travel advisory to its citizens against visiting the crisis-hit country, the Egyptian Tourism Ministry said Wednesday.
The visit follows a trip by Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou to Moscow, Mahfouz Ali, head of the tourism minister's office, said in a statement obtained by Anadolu Agency.
On August 15, Russian authorities issued a travel advisory warning citizens against visiting Egypt due to ongoing domestic political turmoil.
But Alexander Radkov, head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, said the Russian Foreign Ministry was expected to soon lift the warning.
According to the Egyptian Tourism Ministry, restrictions on Russian trips to Egypt will be cancelled next week.
In coming days, Russian national carrier Transaero is expected to run six flights to the Red Sea cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Russia represents Egypt's largest national market for tourism.
About 2.8 million Russians visited Egypt in 2010, 1.8 million in 2011, and 2.5 million in 2012.
Some 1.7 million Russian tourists visited Egypt from January to August of this year, representing a 23.4 percent increase on the same period in 2012.
Adel Radi, head of the Marsa Alam Investment and Tourism Association, said Russian tourists account for nearly 25 percent of total tourist arrivals in Egypt.
"The return of the Russians will revive the local tourism industry," Radi told AA.
He lamented the fact that hotel occupancies in the Red Sea region did not currently exceed 20 percent.
Egypt has been in a state of turmoil since the powerful army deposed elected President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his administration.
According to the Tourism Ministry, tourist numbers have dropped by 85 percent since mid-August, when security forces violently dispersed two pro-democracy protest camps, killing hundreds of demonstrators.
Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2013, 17:35