Industry heavyweights the World Travel & Tourism Council and the World Tourism Organisation have added their voices to calls on the UK government to lift the current ban on UK-based airlines flying to Sharm el Sheikh.
In a letter to UK prime minister Theresa May, WTTC president David Scowsill and UNWTO general secretary Taleb Rifai stressed the importance of resuming operations to the Egyptian coastal resort as the current travel advisory is having devastating effects on the country’s economy and social stability.
The ban has been in place since a Metrojet airline flying from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in the Sinai Desert in October 2015.
They letter read: “Tourism is vital to Egypt’s economy and social peace, contributing 11 per cent of the country’s GDP and 2.6 million in jobs in 2015.
“The reduction of visitors has created huge employment losses.
“The country’s biggest concern is how the lack of employment opportunities, especially for young men and women, has instilled a desperate disposition and thus vulnerability to radicalisation or to fleeing on a refugee boat.”
Egyptian authorities have taken significant measures to step up the level of security not only in the airport but in the surrounding area as well, argued the trade bodies.
These improvements now meet the safety standards as indicated by the UK department for transport.
All other countries, including Germany and Russia, have allowed their airlines to start flying to Sharm el Sheikh again.
They letter concluded: “It is devastating to see the impact the current UK travel advisory has on Egypt and on the young workforce in particular.
“We call on the UK government to review the advisory and allow commercial aircraft to fly to Sharm el Sheikh and thereby help restore the country’s tourism sector’s GDP and employment provision.”