INTERNATIONAL flights have returned to Egypt with tourists welcomed back for the first time in three months.

Passengers heading to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh have arrived in the country after it was forced to close its borders back in March.

Hundreds of travellers, upon arrival at the Hurghada Airport, were met by flowers, souvenirs, and folklore music and dancing.

New safety measures including luggage disinfection and thermal scanning were followed at the airports.

The majority of flights were from Ukraine, Switzerland and Belarus, with UK airlines such as easyJet not offering flights until later this summer.

It might be a while before Brits are able to return to the tourist resorts as the UK government still advises against non-essential travel.

However, Egypt could become one of the air bridges with the UK which would allow quarantine-free travel between the countries.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said around two dozen museums and tourist sites also received visitors with preventive measures in place against coronavirus.

They includes the Egyptian museum, the Giza Pyramids and the Citadel of Saladin in Cairo.

The country is looking at other ways to encourage tourists to return.

Egypt has suspended visa fees for tourist destinations until October while hotels must follow new safety regulations.

For hotels to resume operations they must have a clinic with a resident doctor, regularly screen temperatures and install disinfection equipment, the cabinet said in a statement.

Guests must be registered online and workers have to undergo rapid coronavirus tests when entering resorts, while a hotel floor or small building must be assigned as a quarantine area for positive or suspected coronavirus cases.

Flight Centre chief executive Graham Turner has warned that holidays may not return to normal for years.

He told ABC radio: “It's really up to the government on this sort of thing, and if they ease restrictions it will come back fairly.

“Maybe 18 months to two years (international travel) might be back to 70 per cent, but it'll probably be three years before it's back to pre-COVID levels."


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