Will Egyptian resorts remain closed for Russians?

Will Egyptian resorts remain closed for Russians?

Yesterday's seizure of the A320 liner of Egypt Air on its journey to Cairo from Alexandria caused fears among Russians that this fact will be an additional obstacle to the opening of Egyptian resorts during the holiday season. According to the passengers, the inspection at the airport before departure was really bad. At the same time, Egypt's ambassador to Russia Mohammed Al-Badri said that the country will provide full security to Russian tourists and the final decision on the matter rests with Russia.

The press secretary of the Russian Union of the Travel Industry, Irina Turina, said the hijacking of one of the Egyptian airlines will not affect the current situation in the tourist market, but it could have a negative impact on the decision of the relevant authorities, to open the Egyptian direction in the near future or not, RIA Novosti reports.

Russian State Duma deputies suggested that the resumption of air links between Russia and Egypt should be postponed for the sake of safety of Russian tourists. The presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised to refrain from reaching premature conclusions regarding the resumption of Russia’s air links with Egypt until all the circumstances of the incident involving the A320 liner of Egypt Air have been investigated.

"It would be wrong to reach any conclusions, because the information is very contradictory. I consider it premature to think anything about the resumption of air communication. This topic is very sensitive, it is very important. The safety of our citizens is our main priority. But once again, it would hardly be reasonable to come to any hasty conclusions," Peskov said.

The executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Maya Lomidze, said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that the hijacking of the Egyptian plane and return of Russian tourists to Egypt are not very related to each other issues: "The questions must be addressed to the competent authorities which inspect the security level at airports in Egypt. Because we have no information about it, and when Egypt will be opened fully depends on it. We believe that the incident won't have much impact on the opening of Egypt, because it does not depend on the incident, but depends on the appropriate level of security at airports," the expert noted.

A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, explained what caused the complexity of providing the security of Russian passengers travelling to Egypt and spoke about global practice in this regard.

"Of course it is possible to ensure the safety of Russian aircraft. How? For example, using the method the Israelis do. They place Israeli experts who check the luggage and passengers at all the major airports from where planes fly to Israel. If Egypt is ready for such a method of work, this is one issue. But the problem is that accidents don't always happen with Russian planes, but with Egyptian planes as well, because, unfortunately, the safety in Egypt is insufficient," the expert said.

As for the safety of tourists on the territory of the country, the military observer is sure that the Egyptian military and warships can reliably protect not only hotels and beaches, but also sea areas to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into the country's territory. But it is necessary for Egypt to improve the safety culture of its law enforcement agencies. That's a complex problem and it must be solved comprehensively. It's hard to say whether Egypt can do it or not, but the Egyptian authorities must strive for it," Viktor Litovkin expressed his opinion.

"Egyptians have to try and hurry up, because they have plenty of competition I'm not talking about Crimea, about the resorts of the North and South Caucasus, we are talking about something else – there is Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Israel," the expert expressed confidence.

Responding to a question regarding Russians' chances of relaxing on Egyptian beaches this year, the military observer reminded that summer is not the best time to visit Egypt. "I'm not sure that our flow will resume in the previous amount, but I do not exclude that many people will return to Egypt, which is also a stunningly interesting ancient cultural civilization," Victor Litovkin concluded.