Beating the flight forbid on holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh – BBC News

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It’s the Red Sea resort with sunshine, sand and spectacular scuba diving. But the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is not as busy as it was.

Ever since the suspected bombing of a Russian airliner killed all 224 people on board, UK flights to the resort have been banned.

As a group of more than 30 travelling firms called on the government to reverse the ban, we spoke to two British couples who have refused to give up their break in the Egyptian sun.

Keith and Jill Endean

Image copyright Keith and Jill Endean
Image caption Keith and Jill Endean diving in Sharm el-Sheikh

Keith, 53, and his wife Jill, 58, live in Sheffield. Keen divers, they have been holidaying in Sharm el-Sheikh for 14 years.

Despite the flight prohibition, they visited for a week in September, flying via Cairo.

“We first went to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2001 when we learnt to diving, ” Keith says.

“We’ve run at the least twice a year to that same diving club since 2003.

“We’ve get friends there. It’s always been accessible and cheap.”

And those friends from the diving club have helped them find a way round the ban.

“We share tips on social media on which airlines are flying there and how we can get there, ” Keith says.

‘Safer than London’

They’re not worried about security.

“I feel more secure in Sharm el-Sheikh than I do in London, ” Keith says.

“How many terrorist attacks have there been in Paris?

“No-one’s stopping me going to Paris. No-one’s stopping me going to Belgium.”

“Airport security has been visibly increased, ” Jill notes.

And the downturn in tourism has affected the local economy.

Image copyright Keith and Jill Endean
Image caption Keith and Jill were the only two divers staying at the Oonas Dive Club on their most recent visit
Image copyright Keith and Jill Endean
Image caption “The finished diving rack tells it all, ” told Keith

“The dive club’s staff are depleted as they don’t have enough custom to utilized a full complement of the staff members, ” Keith says.

“The wife of one of our friends has not had work for two months.”

Keith and Jill plan to return in January.

“It’s a long, drawn-out trip-up, but well worth it, ” Jill says.

Julie and Peter Gallagher

Image copyright Julie and Peter Gallagher

Julie, 64, and her husband Peter, 74, live in Halifax, West Yorkshire. They have been visiting Sharm el-Sheikh up to three times a year for the past five years.

They recently returned to the UK after a fortnight-long break in the Egyptian resort with two friends they met there on a previous trip.

“We had an amazing holiday, ” Julie says.

“We have travelled extensively and have never determined anywhere to equal Sharm el-Sheikh.”

“It’s an ideal holiday – lovely people, lovely place, ” Peter adds. “We only love the place.”

They were due to fly to the resort in early November last year but the trip-up was cancelled after the flight prohibition came into force.

“We tried again in December, then in February, ” Peter says.

“We only kept booking with our travelling agent.”

‘Hotels struggling’

Like Keith and Jill, they have also noticed the area becoming visibly quieter.

“We always stay in the same hotel, ” Peter tells. “The manager told us that 80 hotels have been closed down.”

“The resort is struggling and they don’t deserve this, ” Julie adds.

“The hotels are struggling even though they have so much to offer.”

Produced by Chris Bell, BBC UGC& Social News squad

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