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SOCHI, September 29 (Itar-Tass) - Russia expects from Egypt guarantees of security of Russian tourists and hopes to remove the recommendation to abstain from holidaying in the Arab country by early November 2013, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) Dmitry Amunts told Itar-Tass on the sidelines of the Sochi 2013 International Investment Forum.
“I think that during October all the issues will be resolved and closed,” he said.
The Egyptian authorities are exerting every effort to return tourists from Russia to their resorts, said Amunts.
“They are fully providing the security regime, but we are expecting from them, certain state-level guarantees of safety of our tourists,” the official stressed. The army could ensure enhanced security measures for the tourists, the deputy head of the Federal Tourism Agency said.
A number of Russian tour operators have already started to sell tours to Egypt, including for the long November holidays, despite the prohibition of the Federal Tourism Agency, said Amunts.
“But it is on the conscience of the tour operators - we caution that the full permission is not given yet, we are negotiating with the Egyptian authorities,” he concluded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry had advised the RF citizens to refrain from visiting Egypt on August 15, 2013, due to an exacerbation of the internal political conflict in the Arab country.
On the same day, Rosturizm issued an information letter in which it recommended the Russian tour operators and travel agents to suspend the promotion and sale of tours until the situation normalises.
During the first quarter of 2013, as many as 575 thousand Russians visited Egypt, and in 2012 their number was 1.907 million. At the time the Russian Foreign Ministry and Rosturizm issued their recommendations to abstain from visiting Egypt, according to various reports, there were about 40 thousand tourists from Russia at the Red Sea resorts. Now, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), there are slightly more than 1,000 Russians in the Egypt tourist zones. During the period of the recommendations’ effect, the tourism businesses of Russia and Egypt have lost tens of millions of dollars. Both sides are yet to assess the damage size.