Egyptian tourism declines by 47.2 pct in March - CAPMAS

Monday 09-05-2016 02:59 PM

Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort - Reuters photo

CAIRO, May 9 (Aswat Masriya) – The number of tourists visiting Egypt fell by 47.2 per cent in March compared to the same month last year, the official statistics agency said Monday, as tourism continues to suffer the consequences of a 2015 Russian plane crash above Egypt's Sinai.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) attributed its findings to the decline in the number of Russian tourists by 99.2 per cent.

Last October, a charter flight operated by Russian airline Metrojet broke up midair 23 minutes after takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport as it headed to St. Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.

Moscow suspended all flights to Egypt pending an investigation into the crash. The U.K. followed suit, halting all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt’s tourism industry, a vital source of foreign currency, has been hit hard since the plane crash. The country had already been struggling to recover from economic problems and a shortage of foreign currency reserves since the 2011 Uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.

Last week, the Egyptian government adopted an urgent plan to revive tourism. The plan aims to attract 10 million tourists into Egypt by the end of 2017.

The majority of tourists visiting Egypt from western European countries in March came from Germany, while Saudi Arabia ranked on top of Middle Eastern countries sending tourists to Egypt, the state-run agency added.

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