GROWING numbers of tourists are cancelling their holidays to Egypt and flying to Dubai instead. Protests in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have resulted in several tourists changing their plans at the last minute, say tour operators in Bahrain.
"Tourists from Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon and other neighbouring states are now going to Dubai," said Kanoo Travel Bahrain International Airport branch assistant general manager Habib Tarada.
No exact figures were available, but he said the sudden influx had resulted in all flights to Dubai being booked up for at least a week.
"Gulf Air, Bahrain Air, Fly Dubai and Emirates are all booked until next week," Mr Tarada told the GDN.
"Most of the tourists prefer to travel to Dubai rather than visit Cairo because of the present situation."
Mr Tarada said the majority of passengers were those travelling on short visits with their families.
He said the influx of tourists to Dubai would have an effect on the availability of accommodation.
Tourism is a major industry in Egypt and accounts for up to six per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
Egypt is also often a starting point for people exploring Jordan and parts of Northern Africa. Gulf Air is one of the few airlines still operating daily flights to Egypt, with four a day between Bahrain and Cairo.
By SANDEEP SINGH GREWAL
A total of 155 passengers left for the Egyptian capital yesterday on two flights.
Two incoming flights from Cairo International Airport also brought more than 400 passengers to Bahrain.
This included 259 passengers onboard GF070 and 151 in GF080.
Egypt Air cancelled all flights between Bahrain and Egypt yesterday and in the coming days because its aircraft did not return from Cairo.
Bahrain Air operates flights to Alexandria's Borg El Arab Airport and Al Nozha, with its next flight scheduled on Friday.
It is expected to depart from Alexandria at 2.45pm and arrive in Bahrain at 6.30pm.