Russian tourists, in spite of prohibitions, have arrived in Egypt where President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in the winter as a result of a revolution. On Tuesday, a jetliner with 38 Russian tourists landed at the airport of Hurghada.
The tourists arrived at the Red Sea resort by a regular Aeroflot flight Moscow - Hurghada - Luanda (Angola), RIA Novosti reported, citing a source at the international airport of Hurghada. "The tickets for the flights Moscow - Luanda with a stopover in Hurghada are freely available. These people did not use the services of any travel agencies, they came on their own," said the source. He added that the Russians used to arrive with this flight before. "We cannot say for sure that these are tourists. People come to visit families or for business purposes," the source said.
The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) and the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI) reported that they had no evidence that Russian tour operators started sending tourists to Egypt. However, since Egypt is a visa-free country for the Russians, people are able to travel there by simply purchasing an airplane ticket and booking a hotel, wrote Tourbus.ru.
Earlier GZT.ru reported that the ban on travel to Egypt imposed by Rosturizm was extended indefinitely. Deputy Director of the Department of Tourist Activity of Rostourism Andrei Gavrilov explained that the Russian Foreign Ministry did not establish a defense mechanism for the Russians together with the authorities of the country. According to Gavrilov, talks about this issue are ongoing, and the decision to lift the ban on entry of the Russian tourists will be made only based on the results of these talks.
According to a poll by the Levada Center, the events in Egypt and the Middle East made 50 percent of Russians change their plans. For example, 17 percent of the respondents questioned whether it was worth going abroad for a vacation, 16 percent are looking for a safe resort, while 13 percent opt out from taking a vacation any time soon. The remaining respondents said they had not planned to vacation in Egypt. Only 11 percent of Russians are still going to travel abroad, Vesti.ru reported.
On January 29, according to the order of the Federal Agency for Tourism, tour operators have temporarily stopped selling tours to Egypt due to the unstable political situation in that country and riots in some Egyptian cities.