CAIRO: One of the famous activities sought after by tourists in Red Sea resorts is fading out after some 70% of around 300 diving centers have reportedly closed their doors due to a recession in the tourism sector, Youm7 reported Sunday.
More than 170 out of 246 licensed diving centers have halted their activities in the Red Sea governorate, former head of the Diving Chamber Ashraf Saleh told Youm7, adding that the activity has been deeply affected by the travel bans imposed by European countries.
Saleh cited a sharp decrease after Russia, the biggest tourist provider to Egypt, banned flights after a Russian airliner crashed over Sinai late October 2015, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.
“The percentage of the working centers does not exceed 10 percent,” Saled said, adding that the flight suspensions by Russia are “desolation” to the tourism sector.
Youm7 previously reported that more than 50 diving centers in South Sinai’s resorts have also halted their activities due to the low tourists flow on Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab cities.
Both London and Moscow have stated that they believe a bomb was the cause of the October crash. A committee of international investigators tasked to declare the cause of the crash stated in late 2015 that the cause was likely an “in-air break-up” and that a loud sound is heard immediately before the crash, but has not released a final report of the incident.
Cairo has not yet admitted a bomb was the cause, however, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi recently implied in a speech that the plane was downed by terrorists.
Tourism Ministry economic 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.
Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP.)