Is this the right time to sell your overseas property in Sharm el-Sheikh? As you are well aware of, the UK banned flights to Sharm el-Sheikh following the terrorist attack of October 31, 2015, in which a Russian passenger plane travelling from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia was shot down by terrorists from the Islamic State or ISIS.
The terror strike killed all 224 people on board, most of them Russian tourists who were returning home after holidaying in Sharm el-Sheikh. Russia too has suspended flights to the popular tourist destination.
This has certainly had a huge impact on Egypt, where tourism is such a huge industry. Egypt has lost money at a steady rate, losing an estimated £120m a month ever since the flights to Sharm el-Sheikh were banned. The number of tourists visiting Sharm el-Sheikh has dropped by 85 percent since then.
The UK Foreign Office has advised against travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh. There are currently no UK airlines operating in the region. Britons who are already in Sharm el-Sheikh have no choice but to make their own arrangements to return to the UK.
The UK FCO said: “Regular flights to and from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh were suspended on 4 November. Special security measures to allow travellers in Sharm el Sheikh to return to the UK by air safely ended on Tuesday 17 November. UK airlines are no longer operating flights from Sharm el Sheikh to the UK…”
“We will continue working with the Egyptian Authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh to resume. We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place,” the FCO added.
The pledge to restore flight to Sharm el-Sheikh soon has not helped matters much. The number of tourists visiting the region shows no sign of improvement. The hotels and resorts in Sharm el-Sheikh have been running empty and a lot of locals employed in the tourism and hospitality industry have lost their jobs.
The British Airways has cancelled all services to Sharm el Sheikh until the middle of September, 2016. A spokesperson for the British Airways said: "Following advice from the UK Government about the security situation at Sharm el Sheikh airport, we will not be operating any flights to or from the holiday resort up until at least September 15, 2016."
Earlier this year, on February 22, easyJet too announced the cancellation of all flights to Sharm el-Sheikh from Luton, Gatwick and Manchester for at least until September.
Thomas Cook, one of the biggest travel companies in the world has followed suit and cancelled all summer holiday packages to Sharm el-Sheikh, because of the FCO warning. A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said, "In light of [the FCO advice remaining the same], and given that we have no clear indication as to when [it] may change, Thomas Cook can confirm that it has taken the decision to cancel all bookings to Sharm el Sheikh up to and including Monday, October 31."
The ban from Thomas Cook is expected to be in force at least until May 31, 2016.
Will the ban on flights to Sharm el Sheikh be removed any time soon? It does not look likely as the threat from ISIS looms large over the popular tourist destination. While Egypt does not have any domestic terrorists as yet, the fact remains that ISIS is not far from its borders. So, there is a great deal of apprehension among a lot of people about the situation in Egypt.