Fate of tourism linked to cause of Russian plane crash: workers  
An Egyptian military helicopter flies over debris from a Russian airliner which crashed at the Hassana area in Arish city - REUTERS

CAIRO: “If the body investigating the plane crash proved it was caused by a terrorist act, the impact on Egypt’s tourism industry will be bad, given that Russian and British tourists account for over 50 percent of tourists visiting the two resort cities,” a tourism manager in a Sharm al-Sheikh travel agency told The Cairo Post.

”The figures of holidaymakers arrival to Egypt does not mean the tourism industry is not badly affected by the plane crash. It simply means most of those who are still arriving to Hurghada and Sharl al-Sheikh may have not been able to cancel their confirmed bookings,” the tourism manager added.

Following the Oct. 31 crash that killed 224 passengers and crew, swift decisions were taken by a number of countries including Germany, Russia, France and the UK to evacuate their tourists from the resort town, after reports that a bomb may have been the cause.

As many as 7,927 tourists from different countries arrived at Hurghada International Airport Saturday on board of 100 flights, official source at the airport told Youm7.

“A total of 25 flights from Russia, 17 from Germany, six from Turkey, six from Holland, 12 domestic are among the flights landed Saturday at Hurghada airport,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the source at Hurghada airport said 97 flights have departed the airport Saturday including 29 to Russia, 23 to Germany, five to Holland.

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, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said in a statement following the crash.

Russian tourism investments in Egypt reached 2 billion EGP ($250 million) in 2014, he added.

Egypt’s tourist industry took years to recover after militants killed 45 tourists at the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut near Luxor in 1997.

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.

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