Germany lifts checked luggage ban on flights to Sharm al-Sheikh
Sharm El-sheikh International Airport - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The German Transport Ministry has lifted the ban on checked luggage to Sharm al-Sheikh Airport, Youm7 reported on Wednesday, citing a foreign ministry statement.

The decision comes after “the Federal Aviation Office officially informed all German tour operators with the said decision in preparation for flight resumption to and from Sharm al-Sheikh Airport,” according to the statement.

Germany, Russia, Britain and Turkey have imposed a travel ban to Sharm al-Sheikh early November, following the crash of the Russian plane in late October that killed all 224 passengers and crew on board.

The decision culminates six months of legal efforts by the Egyptian embassy in Berlin in coordination with the concerned bodies in the two countries including ministries of interior, tourism and civil aviation, said the statement.

It reflects Egypt’s full commitment to meet international standards in airport security, Egyptian Ambassador to Berlin Badr Abdel Atty was quoted as saying by Youm7.

“The decision came in implementation of the recommendation submitted by a German delegation of aviation experts that inspected security airport measures at Sharm al-Sheikh Airport,” said Abdel Atty.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, around 170,000 German tourists visited Egypt during the first quarter of 2016, compared to 956,000 during the same period last year.

The tourism industry took a further dive following the murder of Italian Cambridge University graduate, Giulio Regeni, whose body was found dumped along a highway with signs of torture in Egypt’s Giza governorate in early February.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in February 2016 decreased by 45.9 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported.

In February, the U.K.-based Thomas Cook travel company cancelled all bookings to Sharm al-Sheikh until November 2016, extending a travel ban that began when the government suspended flights following the Russian airliner crash.

The sector, which is the nation’s second highest source of national income after the Suez Canal, provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.

Egypt’s tourism authorities said in late December that the country received 9 million tourists in 2015, down from a previously predicted 17 million.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, travel advisories issued for the Sinai Peninsula following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, caused tourism revenues to decrease in the first quarter of 2014 to $1.3 billion, down 43 percent from the same period in 2013.

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