50 diving centers close in South Sinai
Diving at Elphinstone, Red Sea, Egypt by Derek Keats via Flickr.

CAIRO: More than 50 diving centers in South Sinai’s resorts have halted their activities due to the recession in the tourism sector following suspended European flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, an official source from the diving and marine activities chamber told Youm7 Wednesday.

There are some 130 centers operating in the South Sinai governorate, said the source, adding that some owners decided to close their centers in Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab cities, to reduce the losses due to the low flow of tourists.

Many of the temporary employees at the centers were dismissed, while some permanent staff were given vacations until the tourism movement was restored to Sharm el-Sheikh city, the source added.

Diving is one of several famous activities in the two South Sinai cities, especially in Dahab, where visitors can witness under waterlandscapes, reefs and colorful fish.

A sharp decrease in the flow of tourists to the city has been reported as consequences of a Russian airliner crash over Sinai late October 2015, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.

Following the crash, a number of countries, including Russia, ordered the evacuation of their nationals from the resort town and suspended their flights after reports that a bomb might have been the cause.

Tourism Ministry’s economy adviser Adela Ragab recently stated that the number of Russian tourists visiting Egypt in 2015 dropped by 23.9 percent compared to the previous year.

The crash also caused a 4 percent decrease in number of British tourists visited Egypt in 2015 while the number of German tourists who visited Egypt in 2015 increased by 16.4 percent, registering 1.2 million up from 877,000 in 2014, according to Ragab.

Hotel reservations on special occasions like the Christmas and New Year holidays reportedly decreased this year.

A committee investigating the plane accident has not yet determined the reasons behind the crash.

On the other hand, Egypt has launched promotional campaigns to court tourists to the city by providing holiday packages with reduced prices.

Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP.)







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