Russian tourists return to Egyptian resorts

A group of about 300 Russian tourists arrived in the Egyptian resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh on Saturday for the first time since the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended citizens to avoid visits to the North African country.

A nationwide revolution which forced long-standing president Hosni Mubarak to step down swept across Egypt in late January. The majority of foreigners living in Egypt fled the country over security concerns. About 40,000 Russian tourists were evacuated from Egypt during the tumult.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry dropped its travel ban on Egypt. So far, Russians are advised to visit only Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, where the situation is back to normal.

Russian tour operators say that air travel to Egypt would resume in full over the next month. However, Yousry Gamaleldin, head of Egypt’s airport company, estimated the inflow of tourists to Sharm el Sheikh would go back to 50% within this month to how it was before the tumult.

Over 10% of Egypt’s labor force is employed in the tourism industry. About 14 million people visit Egypt annually. Egyptian touristic raked in about $13 billion in 2010. During the nationwide unrest, Egypt has lost over $1 billion.

CAIRO, April 2 (RIA Novosti)

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