French tourists to re­turn to Egypt

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - Mo­hammed Abu Zaid Cairo

Egypt is pre­par­ing to wel­come French tourists again in Oc­to­ber af­ter a seven-month halt amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Three Egyp­tian gov­er­norates be­gan re­ceiv­ing tourists and in­ter­na­tional flights in July. On Wed­nes­day, France’s am­bas­sador in Cairo, Stephane Ro­matet, told Egypt’s Tourism Min­is­ter, Khaled Al-Anani, that France will re­sume tourist flights to Egyp­tian beach cities in Oc­to­ber.

The two men also dis­cussed es­tab­lish­ing a mech­a­nism to boost tourist vis­its to Egypt from France. In mid- Septem­ber, EgyptAir raised the num­ber of flights and des­ti­na­tions it op­er­ated to 36 des­ti­na­tions af­ter a hia­tus of more than three months due to the coro­n­avirus.

On Sept. 3, Cairo Air­port wel­comed the first Bri­tish Air­ways flight since the out­break of the

pan­demic with 180 pas­sen­gers on board.

Egypt an­nounced on June 14 that it will re­open three gov­er­norates for tourism and in­ter

na­tional flights, in­clud­ing the Red Sea re­sorts in Hurghada and Sharm El- Sheikh, in ad­di­tion to Marsa Ma­trouh on the Mediter­ranean coast.

Mea­sures to con­tain the pan­demic have brought the Egyp­tian tourism sec­tor to a near stand­still. Tourism ac­counts for be­tween 12 per­cent and 15 per­cent of the

coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. Last March, Egypt sus­pended in­ter­na­tional flights and closed air­ports, mu­se­ums and ma­jor ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites due to the pan­demic.

How­ever, last May it de­cided to al­low ho­tels to op­er­ate again, with oc­cu­pancy rates re­duced to 25 per­cent and then in­creased to 50 per­cent.

File/AFP

EgyptAir raised the num­ber of flights and des­ti­na­tions it op­er­ated to 36 des­ti­na­tions in mid-Septem­ber af­ter a hia­tus of more than three months.

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