Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada give hope of reviving inbound tourism in Egypt
After international commercial flights to Egypt resumed from July 1, the famous destination of the pyramids started its inbound tourism with coastal touristic governorates of South Sinai and the Red Sea. Tourists flocked to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada during July, as the two cities received 147 flights coming from Ukraine, Belarus, Switzerland, Hungary, and Serbia and the two governorates received 26,000 tourists during the month of July.
A lot of the tourist groups enjoyed the warm and sunny weather on the picturesque beaches of Egypt in the two destinations. Also, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the resumption of tourism to Egypt in those governorates. Tourists have praised the precautionary measures and hygiene safety regulations applied in hotels in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada and many have stated that the regulations did not have any effect on them enjoying their time in those cities and their beautiful beaches.
As per the latest updates, from September 1, all international arrivals (including Egyptian nationals) to any part of Egypt will be required to present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival, and the test must be conducted no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Egypt.
The only specified exemptions are for Egyptian nationals, and for travellers flying directly into airports in the coastal governorates of the Red Sea (Hurghada and Marsa Alam), South Sinai (Sharm El-Sheikh) and Marsa Matrouh. Visitors can travel freely within these specified governorates, but there are restrictions preventing onward travel to other parts of Egypt without a negative PCR test certificate that is dated within 72 hours prior to travel.
Presently, the local COVID-19 measures in place for Egypt are:
- It is mandatory to wear a mask in public, and you may be denied entry to vehicles and public transport without one.
- Hotels have resumed operations and must follow new health guidelines that include limits on capacity and hygiene standards.
- There are restrictions on public gatherings.
All arriving foreign passengers will be subject to temperature checks, must fill out a Public Health Card, and show proof of a valid health insurance policy. As foreign nationals require a visa it is better to find out about supporting documents for entry to Egypt and apply online via Egypt’s Online Visa portal.
Rules and restrictions may be changed at short notice, including curfew hours which may be re-implemented if there is a spike in cases of COVID-19. So it is important to stay up to date with local news and media, and follow the travel advice from respective governments too.