Sinai plane crash threatens Egyptian tourism

The future of Egyptian tourism is subject of many questions following the Russian plane crash that occurred Nov. 1 in the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 passengers on board. Investigations are still underway and all first indications support the theory of a bomb placed on board.

As the investigation goes on, the main concern remains the future of Egyptian tourism in this time of turmoil and uncertainty in the country.

For many years Red Sea has been the English tourists’ main destination. Last year, Egypt recorded a significant increase in Western Tourists in the region. By the end of the first half of 2015, English tourism in the region showed a 15% growth and Egyptian authorities believe that by 2016 the region will receive nearly 2 million English tourists. As United Kingdom banned its flights in the region, it is feared that the plane crash situation discourages tourists from other parts of the world to visit touristic sites and prestigious vestiges in Egypt.

Lufthansa, the German airline and the first European airline company in terms of passengers ‘number, as well as the Irish and Dutch airplane companies have also suspended their flights over the Sinai Peninsula. Another aspect that might hit the Egyptian tourism is the decision of France and Belgium of warning their nationals not to go to Sharm el-Sheikh unless for extreme reasons.

In 2010, a record year, almost 15 million tourists visited Egypt and spent more than $ 12 billion. In 2013, following the political disturbances, there were less than 10 million tourists.

With almost 20 million people working in the tourism sector, tourism is the unique pillar of the Egyptian economy bringing into the country an average of 3 million tourists, which represents 11% of GDP and 15% of its revenues.

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