News report | | 30/06/2022 | ±2 minutes reading time

The Egyptian and Russian governments are holding talks on allowing the Russian payment system MIR in Egyptian resorts and increasing the number of flights between the two countries. Read more about the current situation and whether you need a visa here.

Tourism sector in Egypt recovering during Russian-Ukrainian war

The tourism sector in Egypt seems to be slowly recovering from the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Egypt and Russia are in fact holding talks on the possibility of allowing the Russian payment system MIR to enter Egyptian resorts. On 8 June 2022, the head of the Russian Tourism Agency (Rostourism) and the Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities held talks on increasing the number of flights between Russia and Egypt. The talks also covered the possibility for Russian tourists to use their MIR cards in Egyptian resorts bordering the Red Sea.

According to statistics from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism Enterprises, Russian and Ukrainian tourists account for about 40% of holidaymakers in Egypt. However, the number of tourists from these two countries dropped significantly due to the war in Ukraine, which broke out in February. This put a lot of pressure on the tourism sector in Egypt. On average, revenues from the tourism sector account for 15% of Egyptʼs gross domestic product (GDP).

Increase in tourists from Russia in summer period

According to the travel analysis company ForwardKeys, the number of Russian tourists in Egypt will increase by 30% between 1 July and 31 August. The travel companyʼs booking data shows that the number of Russian tourists in Turkey increased by 96% between 1 June and 31 August, and for the United Arab Emirates it was 84% in the same period. The introduction of the MIR payment system in Egypt will therefore contribute greatly to the increase in the number of Russian and Ukrainian tourists in Egypt. Travellers who want to travel to Egypt from Russia or Ukraine also need a visa.

In July 2021, Russia lifted the ban on charter flights to Egyptian resorts after almost six years due to COVID-19. It is estimated that about 1 million Russian tourists visited Egypt in the last quarter of 2021 after flights to Egyptian Red Sea resorts resumed. According to figures from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt generated more than USD 13 billion in revenue from the tourism sector in 2021. This brought the country back to the level it was at before the corona crisis. The Egyptian government estimates that revenue from the tourism sector in the current fiscal year will be between $10 billion and $12 billion, compared to $4.9 billion in 2020.

Tourists from the UK and Ireland can go to Egypt without any problems

Tourists from the United Kingdom and Ireland can withdraw money with their debit or credit card without any problems in Egypt. However, they will have to apply for an Egypt visa. A single-entry visa to Egypt costs £49.95 and is easy to apply for online. The visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue, and during this period you can stay in Egypt for up to 30 days. An advantage of this visa is that no fixed arrival date needs to be given; this may only be an estimate. Travellers may still enter the country 30 days before and 30 days after this estimated arrival date.