Trade lobbies government for resumption of Sharm flights

Trade lobbies government for resumption of Sharm flights

More than 30 travel companies have met with government officials demanding a swift decision be made on the current flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Airlines, tour operators, cruise lines and hoteliers attended the meeting with the all-party parliamentary group on Egypt at the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Rasha Azaizi director of the Egyptian State Tourist Office in London said: “This long-term ban on flights to Sharm el-Sheikh is now affecting many UK travel businesses as well as airlines and is causing deep consumer confusion.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth advice is currently that it is safe to visit Sharm el-Sheikh but not to go through the airport.

“That’s given people the impression that they can’t visit Egypt when in fact British Airways, easyjet, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Egyptair are all already operating direct flights to other airports in Egypt.

“No other country apart from Russia still has a flight ban on flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, but the UK government has still not yet made a decision.”

One operator said he was now selling as much in one year as he used to sell in a week to the destination.

Others expressed frustration that British businesses are being penalised compared to the German and Russian markets which are now able to fly back into Sharm el-Sheikh.

Sir Gerald Howarth, MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Egypt, commented on the large contingent attending the meeting and said this was clearly a sign of the pressure facing the travel industry.

He advised travel companies to “speak up about the impact” the ban was having on their businesses, to write to their local MPs and to communicate clearly what needs to be done.

Travel businesses have joined forces to create the Travel Industry Egypt Advisory Group working with the Egyptian Tourist Office in London.

Group members will meet regularly and include Tui, Monarch, Egyptair, Saga Holidays, Expedia, Voyages Jules Verne, Mosaic Holidays and Red Sea Holidays.

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