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Britain urged to end Sharm flights ban

30 November 2016 09:30

Prime Minister Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May

The UK should think about resuming flights to the popular tourism resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, according to a major United Nations agency.

The head of the UN agency responsible for promoting tourism, Taleb Rifai, said Prime Minister Theresa May should consider lifting a ban on flights to the Egyptian resort.

Mr Rifai, who is the secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation, said the UK's ban on flights is negatively impacting youth employment in the resort.

A terrorist incident in the autumn of 2015 led to a ban on flights between Britain and Sharm.

With its mix of hotels, sun and beaches, thousands of British holidaymakers traditionally flocked to the region, prior to the ban.

Multiple flights or ferries now have to be taken by Britons in order to access Sharm, meaning visitor numbers have fallen over the past year.

Employment fears

In a letter, Mr Rifai stated: "The reduction of visitors has created huge employment losses.

"The country's biggest concern is how the lack of employment opportunities, especially for young men and women, has instilled a desperate disposition and thus vulnerability to radicalisation or to fleeing on a refugee boat.

"It is devastating to see the impact the current UK travel advisory has on Egypt and on the young workforce in particular."

The letter, which was also signed by David Scowsill, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, added: "We call on the UK Government to review the advisory and allow commercial aircraft to fly to Sharm el-Sheikh."

Travel insurance

Whether you plan to venture to Egypt or other foreign destinations, travel insurance should always be near the top of your priority list.

It can financially protect people against things like cancelled flights and accidents.

Security 'boosted'

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, significant steps to boost security have been taken by the authorities in Egypt. Apart from the UK, all other countries have resumed flights to Sharm, the agency noted.