Arrangements are under way to assist about 20,000 Ukrainian tourists stranded at various Egyptian resorts to fly to Europe, Ukrainian Embassy officials in Cairo said on Thursday, adding that many were ready to head to Ukraine to fight Russian forces.
Estimated at 20,000, the sightseers are mostly in the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, with some further south in Marsa Allam.
The Embassy deputy Head, Yevhen Zhupeyev confirmed that a few of the fun-seekers have flown out of their own accord, the Embassy is working with Egyptian authorities and tourism companies to set up returns to countries neighbouring Ukraine.
“Lots of them are calling, willing to come back and asking to return them in order to fight Russian soldiers,” said Zhupeyev.
Egypt, which has close relations with Russia but which voted at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Moscow’s invasion, was allowing Ukrainians to stay in three-star hotels for free as long as they needed, Zhupeyev said.
In 2021, tourism revenues exceeded $13 billion, reports Al Araby, returning to pre-pandemic levels, but the forecast for this year remains uncertain.
“We’re expecting the European countries to give us a green light to receive them…our allies there are finding the airports which can receive Ukrainians from Egypt,” he added.
Last month, Egypt’s Hurghada International Airport received a record 11 Russian flights from various airports carrying more than 1,500 Russian passengers, among dozens of international flights which arrived in the country.
Concerns are mounting in Egypt over the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis will have on its economy as it smatter in recovery from the global coronavirus pandemic.
Russian and Ukrainian tourists make up around 40 per cent of the total number of tourists who visit Egypt and numbers had already started to wane in February as news of a potential conflict played out.
Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khalid Al-Anani said last year that the tourism industry saw revenues drop $9 billion in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
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