Egyptian tourism companies have conducted studies to open branches in Russia and Eastern Europe in a bid to attract tourists from these countries to Egypt’s deserted hotels.
Blue Sky Travel Group is considering a foray into these new markets, a senior official at the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels told Daily News Egypt.
There is currently a lack of supply in the international Russian tourism sector after Moscow suspended the work licenses of Turkish companies. The suspension was issued in January after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet which Turkey claims violated its airspace.
According to the official, who spoke anonymously as the company is still studying the situation at the economic and legal levels, Russia is the most prominent market to which the Egyptian tourism sector can turn for growth, especially amid recent political tension between Moscow and Ankara. He also pointed out that the growth of Eastern European markets has allowed a large base of the population to pursue international tourism.
Egypt lost an approximate $600m share of the Russian market’s tourism revenues last year. The number of tourists coming from Russia fell by approximately 700,000, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
Egypt’s tourism revenues from the Russian market last year fell to $1.9bn, compared to $2.5bn in 2014.
The number of tourists coming from Russia fell by 24%, recording 2.4m arrivals in 2015, compared to 3.1m arrivals in 2014.
Total revenue in the Egyptian tourism sector was recorded at $6.1bn in 2015, compared to $7.3bn in 2014.
The Russian tourism sector has not declined steeply despite a depreciation in the value of the Russian ruble against the US dollar, according to Adla Ragab economic advisor to the minister of tourism. She added that the suspension of Russian flights to Egypt in last November was the real reason for the great decline.
“Russian tourism will return to Egypt soon and Egypt is expected to acquire a significant share of the Russian tourism market compared to other competing countries in the Mediterranean,” according to Ragab.
She pointed out that the ministry has plans to expand promotion of Egyptian tourism locations in Eastern Europe during the coming period.
The senior official at the Egyptian Chamber of Hotels stated that Egyptian companies in Russia face several obstacles, including competition from Turkish companies who are also organizing trips to Egypt and the decline in the value of the Russian ruble which has eroded the purchasing power for Russian nationals.
The current rate of exchange between the US and Russian currencies was valued this week at one US dollar to more than 79.5 rubles.