Egypt holidays 2018: The country hopes to entice Britons to Hurghada this year
The Red Sea resort of Hurghada is set to steal the limelight this year, after the Egyptian State Tourist Authority announced its plans to boost British tourism numbers, with plans to double its usual capacity.
Meanwhile, a flight ban remains in place to the once-popular holiday resort of Sharm el Sheikh, which has now been deserted by British holidaymakers following an FCO travel ban.
Direct flights from the UK were banned in late 2015, following the crash of a Russian carrier headed to the so-called ‘jewel of the Red Sea’, located in the Sinai Peninsula.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, however Russian authorities believe an explosive device was the culprit, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reports.
Egypt holidays: Hurghada to overtake Sharm el Sheikh as 2018 British holiday destination
While Russia resumed flights to Sharm in January this year, a flight travel ban still remains in place for British nationals, causing Egyptian Tourist officials to look for alternative destinations to entice the British market.
In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, UK and Ireland director of the Egyptian State Tourist Authority, Amr El-Ezabi commented: “The British market used to have a preference for Sharm rather than Hurghada. But this year our strategy is focused on Hurghada,” it was reported in Travel Weekly.
In a marketing campaign due to launch in April, focus will be primarily on resorts such as Hurghada, Luxor and Marsa Alam.
According to TravelSupermarket, Hurghada has been a 97 per cent rise in interest this summer, with Brits choosing to holiday here while direct travel to Sharm remains suspended.
Egypt holidays 2018: Hughada benefits from stunning beaches
The number of flights from the UK to Hurghada has increased for summer 2018, with both TUI and Thomas Cook announcing direct routes to there this year.
TUI’s new route directly to the Red Sea resort, popular for snorkelling, is from Birmingham, while Thomas Cook now flies from Bristol.
El-Ezabi continued: “If we look at what’s happening in the UK, Hughada is growing slowly, in a discreet way.”
“But I think it needs to be better known, like Sharm. Sharm is as famous as Egypt. We will be making Hurghada, and Marsa Alam, more recognisable.
Egypt holidays 2018: Visitors to the area will be welcomed by crystal clear waters
Since the incident, Sharm has been experiencing disappointing tourist numbers, much to the frustration of Egyptian Tourist officials. El-Ezabi said: ““I don’t want to speak about Sharm. I have nothing to do with the decision. I want to get rid of the fixation.”
“Once it comes back it will be fantastic. But until it comes back we have to promote our great product elsewhere. It’s not giving up [on Sharm as a UK destination], because it’s not our decision. What can I do other than promote what’s in my hands?” El-Ezabi said to Travel Weekly.
As a result, The Egyptian State Tourist Authority has set itself an official target to increase British visitor numbers to there region by 40 per cent, but hopes to double usual capacity.
The FCO states it is “liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place. Around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2017. Most visits are trouble free.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Egyptian Tourist Authority for a comment.