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Egypt falling out of favor with Russians – media

Number of bookings reportedly dropped due to the warring tensions across the Middle East

The number of bookings made by Russians for the popular Egyptian tourist destinations of Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh in January has seen a year-on-year decline of 14%, Russian business daily Kommersant reported earlier this week, citing calculations by travel website Ostrovok.ru.

The drop in demand for holidays in the African nation, once wildly popular among Russians willing to escape snow and sub-zero temperatures, is primarily attributed to geopolitical situations across the region. Over the past six months, it has been hit by the escalation of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as Houthi attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea.

Apart from the security concerns, holidays in Egypt have become more expensive, the CEO of Russian tour operator Space Travel, Artur Muradian, told media, saying the price hikes relate to a ruble exchange rate that stood at high levels throughout the year.

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“Now it fluctuates at 90 rubles per dollar, and this is bad for Egypt,” the travel expert said. “Due to the pressing necessity to fly around various countries and Russian southern territories, the flight duration has increased to six hours,” he pointed out, “which means that the tickets cannot be cheap.”

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In addition, the travel sector is currently experiencing a shortage of direct flights, which cannot be provided by either Egyptian or Russian airlines. This forces carriers to charge higher costs for transportation.

A confluence of these various factors has shifted a package holiday in Egypt from the budget category to the mid-range segment, raising the price of a week for two in one of the country’s resorts by up to 180,000 rubles (over $2,000).

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Russian travel agencies have also highlighted the growing popularity of other destinations in the Middle East, despite the unstable geopolitical situation in the region.

“The United Arab Emirates is evidently the leader, while demand for tours to Qatar, Oman and Bahrain has recently seen a notable growth,” Dmitry Gorin, vice president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, told Kommersant.

As per data tracked by Ostrovok, the number of foreign bookings for the summer has increased by 77% compared to bookings for summer 2023, with Türkiye remaining the leader among the most preferred destinations. There, the average cost of a tour for two has surged 20%, topping 200,000 rubles (some $2,300). A comparable trip to Egypt costs about the same.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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January 21, 2024 at 08:18PM
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