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MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) - Russian tour operators note that ever more Russian tourists now cancel paid for tours to Egypt, Maya Lomidze, director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“Cancellations account for some 30 percent of the number of tours starting in the days ahead. Despite the Foreign Ministry’s warnings, most tourists intend to fly to Egypt and merely postpone the departure date. Others change the destination,” Lomidze said.
According to ATOP, most Russian tourists who cancel vouchers to Egypt book tickets to other destinations. Preference is given to visa-free travel to Turkey and Tunisia, also to countries with the facilitated visa regime: United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and Spain. Russian tour operators also note a sharp drop in the number of bookings of vouchers to Egypt.
A source in the Russian Union of Tourism Industry said that according to Sergei Agafonov, director-general of the chain of shops of last minute travel offers, some 40,000 Russian citizens have air tickets to Egypt. Half of the 3,500 company’s clients who travel to Egypt are already there and others were going to fly there. “Last Friday the booking of tickets to Egypt practically stopped, and more than 90 percent of the tourists who were to fly to Egypt in the days ahead gave up the tours,” the source in the Union quotes Agafonov as saying.
The Russian Tourist Agency Rosturizm noted, in its turn, that local protests in the resort area of Hurghada did not mar vacationing of Russian tourists last weekend. The protest rallies were held at quite some distance from the resort areas.
“The situation was tranquil in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh resort areas on Monday morning. The tourists were sunbathing and swimming. Local protests in Hurghada did not affect the tranquil situation in the resort area. Protests took place in the old city where tourists almost never venture,” said press secretary of Rosturizm Irina Shchegolkova with a reference to a Rosturizm representative in Hurghada.
She also stressed that the protests had been peaceful; the protesters were just chanting slogans and dispersed by the evening. Police and military were patrolling the streets.