Russian tourists in Egypt: Diving in

THE turmoil in Egypt had until recently spared the country’s tourist destinations. The most recent attack in the Red Sea town of Dahab, a popular dive resort, was in 2006 when three blasts killed over 20 people. So it was a blow when, on February 16th, four people were killed by a bomb on a tourist bus in Taba, another town in the Sinai close to the border with Israel.

However, there is one nationality of visitor that is not put off by the insecurity. Egypt is a cheap, warm destination for Russians keen to escape the long, cold winter at home. The day after the Taba explosion, bus trips to nearby Jerusalem with Russian-speaking guides were as popular as ever, despite passing through Taba. Masha, a teacher in her thirties carrying a Sochi 2014 bag, travelled with her mother and eight-year-old daughter to Egypt. She paid $700 for return flights and eleven days full-board in a luxury hotel. Russian visitors often stay for several months. More may come as ties between the two countries grow. When Field-Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Moscow earlier this month, the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, said he hoped to increased Russian tourism in Egypt.Dahab is prepared. Many signs, especially for apartments to rent, are displayed in Russian rather than the native Arabic. Store owners have learnt the basics of the language, though not from textbooks …

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