Cameron in Egypt as tourism recovers

British prime minister David Cameron has arrived in Egypt as the country seeks to normalise relations with the outside world following the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Cameron had long-planned to visit the Gulf region but rejinked his to hold talks with the military leadership of Egypt in a bid to help ensure a “genuine transition” to civilian rule.

Mr Cameron said: “This is a great opportunity for us to go and talk to those currently running Egypt to make sure this really is a genuine transition from military rule to civilian rule and see what friendly countries like Britain and others in Europe can do to help.

“I am particularly keen about being able to get to Egypt and to be one of the first people there.”

Mr Cameron is expected to meet the head of the Egyptian armed forces supreme council, defence minister Mohamed Tantawi.

The army is presently in control of the country following Mubarak’s decision to step down on February 11th.

Tourism in Egypt

Egypt has been seeking a return to normality, with historical sites quick to reopen following the political upheaval.

Many had been closed since early January.

The Egyptian Museum – situated on Tahrir Square in Cairo, which was at the centre of the unrest – was among the first to reopen, with visitors welcomed with roses.

The upheaval is said to have cost the tourism industry £500m.

However, the process of returning Egypt to the international tourist trail may take some time.

The British Foreign Office is still advising against “all but essential” travel Cairo, Alexandra and Suez, with many international residents having left in previous weeks.

In contrast, the tourist destinations of Sharm-el-Sheikh and Luxor – which is the centre of cruise tourism on the Nile – have been returned to normality in recent days.

Egypt Air

Egypt Air has been among the biggest losers from the crisis, with curfews and flight restrictions crushing aviation traffic to the country.

The carrier - which holds exclusive transiting rights through Cairo - had to cancel hundreds of flights from it major hubs to the Red Sea resorts and tourism destinations.

As a result, the airline is now offering to lease - either wet or dry - as many as 25 of its newest aircraft to other carriers, in a bid to offset staggering losses linked to the unrest.

The company said in a statement it was also offering to provide crew to staff the planes, which it was making available to fellow members of the Star Alliance network of international carriers.