Egypt's tourist resort Sharm el-Sheikh devoid of tourists following the Russian plane crash - Reuters
CAIRO, Jul 12 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt lost over half of its tourists in May, the official statistics agency said on Tuesday, as the economy faces an acute foreign currency crisis.
Approximately 431,800 tourists visited Egypt last May compared to 894,600 in May 2015, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a statement.
It added that Russian tourism decreased by 61.3 per cent, which was likely part of the consequences of the 2015 Russian plane crash that occurred above Egypt's Sinai.
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.
Tourists from the U.K. also decreased by 12.9 per cent, while tourists from Germany and Italy decreased by 10 per cent, and 4.2 per cent consecutively.
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.
The Egyptian government adopted an urgent plan to revive tourism, which aims to attract 10 million tourists into Egypt by the end of 2017.