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Ukrainian tourists bring life to Sinai resorts

Wednesday 09 January 2019 11:49 AM


On a freezing morning in late December at Kyiv’s Zhuliany international airport, the departure schedules are packed with charter flights bound for the Egyptian Sinai resort of Sharm El Sheikh, most of them operated by Ukraine’s new low-cost airline SkyUp.

Hundreds of Ukrainian families brushed the snow off their thick winter coats before stuffing them into suitcases as they got ready to take off and welcome the New Year in warmer climes, swapping the icy streets and grey skies of Kyiv for the turquoise water and sunshine of Egypt’s Red Sea coast.

Located on the Sinai peninsula’s southernmost tip, some 20 kilometers across the Gulf of Aqaba from Saudi Arabia, the resort of Sharm is perfect for holidaymakers wanting to escape Ukraine’s subzero winter for an affordable break.

And in Egypt, where the tourism industry has struggled through the last eight years since the country had its own EuroMaidan-style uprising and a number of terrorism-related incidents (not to mention a number of fatal shark attacks) the influx of Ukrainian visitors, seemingly unfazed by security risks, has been greatly welcomed.

Indeed, at Sinai coastal resorts like Sharm, Ukrainian visitors – growing in number – seem to be playing a significant part in keeping the tourism sector alive.

Holidaying families from all over Ukraine are breathing life and energy into this resort, while other visitors, particularly from Western Europe, have largely stopped coming due to security concerns.