CAIRO: Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou has postponed a trip to the UK to participate in the World Tourism Market (WTM) in the wake of the Russian plane crash, Youm7 reported.
The crash occurred a day before Zaazou was scheduled to head for London Sunday to represent Egypt in the inauguration of the annual WTM slated for Nov., 2-5.
Zaazou has launched several campaigns to support Egypt’s tourism sector that has been hit badly following the 2011 uprising.
On Sunday, Zaazou stated he would travel to London Sunday evening to participate in the event and to “clarify the circumstances related to the plane crash and answer reporters’ inquiries.”
“I do not think the Russian plane crash will have bad impact on Russian tourists visiting Egypt. Plane crashes caused by technical failure happens everywhere. It is too early to talk about the causes of the crash, let’s wait until data from the plane’s black box are revealed,” Zaazou said Saturday in a phone interview with the CBC satellite channel.
More than 3 million Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2014 with 1.7 million visitors over the course of the first seven months of 2015, according to Zaazou.
Russian tourism investments in Egypt reached 2 billion EGP ($250 m) in 2014, he added.
Zaazou has also cancelled the launch of the “This Is Egypt” tourism promotion campaign slated for Saturday.
Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, instability and political turmoil continue to challenge the sector.
The plane crashed Saturday morning over Egypt’s Sinai due to a “technical malfunction in the engines,” Youm7 quoted an official source at the Civil Aviation authority.
The plane, which went missing from radar screens 23 minutes after departing Sharm al-Sheikh airport, had 217 passengers and seven crew members onboard.