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Airfares for roundtrip flights to Egypt’s Red Sea have decreased to under £35 as airlines reduce prices in an effort to boost business.
Tourism in the Middle East has drastically declined, with flight reservations to Jordan decreasing by half since the start of the Hamas attack on Israel. Similarly, air ticket purchases to Egypt have decreased by one-third.
According to travel data company ForwardKeys, the statistics show that the aviation industry has been greatly affected by the conflict, not just in the Middle East but globally. The last quarter of the year is expected to see a 7% decrease in air travel due to these circumstances.
The company analyzed flight reservations during the three weeks prior to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th, and compared them to the same time period after the attack.
With the exception of Israel, which is deemed a restricted destination by the UK government, the most significant impact has been on flights to Saudi Arabia, with a decrease of 67 percent. There are very few British tourists who travel to this country.
The decline in bookings to Jordan is particularly noteworthy, as it has experienced a 54 percent decrease. This is surprising given that the country typically sees a strong demand during the winter season.
Following the start of the war, easyJet decided to cancel its previously scheduled winter route connecting London Gatwick and Aqaba, a city situated on the Red Sea coast of Jordan.
From October 29, the airlines began their winter season with 10 flights from UK airports to Egypt. These flights were operated by British Airways, easyJet, and Wizz Air.
Fares for some of the new links, such as Belfast International to Hurghada, are selling at unprecedented low prices. Return flights from Northern Ireland to the Red Sea have been selling for £34.47 return, with one inbound flight on 2 December priced at £10.83 one way – a rate of 0.4p per mile for the 2,762-mile flight.
The decrease in ticket purchases is clear from the data on trips to the area, which encompasses reservations made beyond the three-week time frame.
Three weeks before 7 October, travel to the Middle East was 13 per cent up on 2019 levels. Today, it is 13 per cent down.
“The ongoing conflict is a devastating and heart-wrenching human crisis that is constantly broadcasted on our television screens,” stated Olivier Ponti, the vice-president of insights at ForwardKeys.
This is likely to discourage people from traveling to the area, but it has also lowered trust in traveling to other places.
Darrell Wade, the co-founder and chairman of Intrepid Travel, stated to The Independent that there has been a noticeable increase in cancellations from travelers who are trying to avoid the region. This has been observed over the past 2-3 weeks.
He expressed concern for the citizens of Egypt who rely on tourists, stating it was “extremely alarming.”
According to Philip Breckner, the commercial director of Discover Egypt, a company specializing in travel to Egypt, a large number of British tourists are still visiting the country and coming back with favorable reviews and feedback.
The Foreign Office considers traveling to popular destinations in Egypt and Jordan to be secure.