An official statement published by the Association of Egyptian Travel Agencies announced that Egypt has suspended all flights from or to China amid an eruption of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Killing more than 80 people according to the Chinese government and infecting over 2,000, the coronavirus originated in China’s city of Wuhan.
The statement added that all trips to Egypt’s touristic spots including Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and Aswan that had been booked by Chinese travel agencies were adjourned.
A Member of the Committee for Marketing Cultural Tourism, Mohamed Fathi, told Borsa News that Egypt accommodates around 24 Egyptian travel agencies specialized in the Chinese market, which are currently facing challenging situation thanks to this outbreak.
Trips for approximately 30,000 Chinese tourists expected to visit Egypt in the winter season were cancelled, he said.
Egypt was set to welcome 150,000 Chinese visitors in 2020, according to Fathi’s statements to Borsa News.
Stressing that international law does not help Egyptian travel companies refund the money of the cancelled trips, Fathi expressed concern that this may lead to tensions between China and Egypt, Borsa News reported.
Fathi also urged the Egyptian government to support these companies by not imposing cancellation sanctions, which require them to pay 20 percent of the booking’s value.
Association board member Osama Mounir anticipated that this step would negatively impact tourism, noting that revenues of Chinese trips are approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s total tourism income.
Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed attended an inspection tour in Sharm el-Sheikh airport, affirming that no cases have been diagnosed in Egypt so far.
She ensured that the Ministry has all the essential precautions in case the virus is discovered in Egypt.
The Minister also released guidelines regarding how to properly deal with the virus, warning travelers who carry symptoms to immediately cover their face with a mask and head to the nearest hospital.
Chinese Cultural counselor Shi Yuewen mentioned in June 2019 that nearly half a million Chinese tourists had visited Egypt in 2018.