Egypt hosts thousands of stranded Russian and Ukrainian tourists

According to the official data of the Ukrainian embassy in Cairo: the total number of Ukrainian tourists stranded in Egypt is about 20,000, while the number of Russian tourists and workers in Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, according to the Russian Consulate in Hurghada, is about 37,000, totaling about 57,000 stranded tourists.

This means that the Tourism Fund provides $570,000 per day, beside the costs that the owners of hotels hosting the stranded tourists will bear.

The Egyptian government announced the hosting of Ukrainian and Russian tourists whose tourism trips ended in Egypt and were unable to return to their country due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism circulated Circular No. 45 of 2022 to all hotels in South Sinai and the Red Sea governorates.

This stipulates that the Tourism Fund of the Ministry of Tourism will share part of the costs of Ukrainian tourists’.

This also includes accommodation in hotels and the guest will not be charged with any additional fees for their stay.

However a number of tourism experts say that so far there are no signs that this war will end anytime soon.

So far no European country has welcomed the Ukrainian embassy in Cairo’s request to transfer the stranded tourists in Egypt to their countries. 

Experts stressed the need for international institutions: the EU, international insurance companies and international donors to have a role in urgently assisting Egypt and including it in the aid package it provides to Ukraine’s neighboring countries.

Experts have warned that hotels hosting tourists will not be able to withstand the situation for a long time.

The Tourism Fund’s contribution of ten dollars a day per tourist will not cover the price of one meal and a drink in light of the terrible rise in food prices that the world is witnessing.

It is necessary to search for urgent alternatives to solve this crisis.

The Tourism Fund’s contribution of ten dollars per day for each tourist is absolutely insufficient.

This was said by Moataz Sedky, Vice Chairman of the Tourism Committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. 

International insurance companies that brought these stranded tourists have concluded should also play its role, Sedky added.

According to international law: no tourist in the world can board a plane or any other means of transportation to any tourist destination without  travel insurance. 

Travel insurance covers against disasters, whether it is wars, floods, accidents or diseases.

It even covers the loss of bags and belongings during the trip.

These insurance companies are supposed to cover the accommodation of stranded tourists in Egypt. 

A number of hotel owners said that most hotels work on credit: meaning that customers come and spend their vacations, and after a month and a half or more: the tour operator or foreign partner begins to transfer financial dues to the Egyptian hotels.

The US has shut down the transfer system known as Swift for Russia, financial dues for the majority of these hotels from the Russian and Ukrainian markets.

This means that they will remain suspended and the hotels will face difficulty in finding funds to pay for food supplies, energy bills, maintenance and workers’ wages, beside other daily expenses for operating hotel facilities.

The average cost of a tourist’s stay per day is between $50 and $70 a day while the Tourism Ministry’s fund only pays $10. 

If the Egyptian government needs to continue providing services to stranded Ukrainians, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Antiquities need to submit an urgent request to the UN, the EU, and other parties to help Egypt financially.

The total number of Ukrainian tourists in Egypt is currently about 26,000, not 20,000, as stated in the letter of the Ukrainian embassy in Cairo addressed to the Foreign Ministry, Mostafa Khalil, a member of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association, said.

The EU which provided Ukraine with 1.2 billion euros must extend its support to these stranded Ukrainian citizens, he added.

Khalil suggested that Egypt bears 50 percent of the cost of their stay, at $35 a day per tourist, and the EU bears the rest.

The Egyptian Tourism Fund affiliated to the Ministry of Tourism will not be able to pay $910,000 daily, which in the first month will reach about $27.3 million, he said.

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