Egyptian government extends free stays for Ukrainian tourists following Russian invasion
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is allowing tourists affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to extend their stay in Egyptian hotels free of charge until it is safe to return home.
On Thursday, Ahram Online, Egypt’s largest online news organization, reported that Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled Anani made the decision following the closure of Ukrainian airspace.
The Hotel Association of Egypt has also issued a directive to all its member hotels to extend stays for Ukrainian and Russian tourists until the reopening of Russian and Ukrainian airspace, allowing them to return home safely. .
Hotels have been instructed to provide these stranded tourists with all amenities at their resort free of charge.
The South Sinai Chamber of Hotels issued a statement to general managers of hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh imploring them to extend the stays of Ukrainian tourists who had returned from the airport after their flights were cancelled.
The chamber also told hotel management that it should provide stranded Ukrainians with all the assistance they need and not let “any tourist leave any hotel”.
The chamber’s statement encouraged hotel management to cautiously moderate potential clashes between Ukrainian and Russian tourists.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Egypt shared the directive of the Hotel Association of Egypt and the statement of the South Sinai Chamber of Hotels on its official Facebook page and encouraged stranded Ukrainian tourists to present these documents to the hotel management if necessary.
Ahead of the ministry’s announcement, the Ukrainian Embassy said it was cooperating with tourism officials and tour operators to help provide stranded Ukrainians with resources due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the temporary closure of Ukrainian airspace.
The embassy also said it was working to find entry routes to Ukraine through Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary so that stranded Ukrainians could return home.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said that due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace, Ukrainian citizens abroad should stay put, closely monitor events and register in the digital communication system of the ministry that connects Ukrainians with their embassies and consulates abroad.
The head of the Egyptian National Air Navigation Company, Ihab Mohi El-Din, said that on Thursday, before Ukraine banned commercial flights from its airspace, Egyptian airports received hundreds of Ukrainian civilians from from Kiev and Lviv airports.
Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Ukrainians. In 2019, almost 1.5 million Ukrainians visited and during the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than 700,000 Ukrainians vacationed in Egypt.