Egypt hopes for minor damages to tourism sector as Israelis expected to avoid Sinai
The bombing attacks at Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Thursday night will have minor effect on one of the country's leading sources of foreign currency with about $4 billion per annum, local tour operators have expected.
Israeli tourists were the targets of the attacks and Israeli sources assess that the attacks wiped out Israeli tourism to Sinai indefinitely. Some expect the crisis to last in months, others years.
However, it should be recalled that Israeli visitors accounted for less than one percent of Egypt's 5.2 million tourist arrivals in 2003, IPS reported. According to latest Israeli statistics, about 320,000 Israelis visited Sinai in 2003, more than twice the 150,000 who went in 2002. Over 250,000 Israelis have already visited this year.
The Egyptian authorities can be concerned from the fact that following the Sinai attacks, Britain, Germany and the United States have already told their citizens to avoid Sinai.
The Sinai attack has been the first major strike on an Egyptian tourist site since 1997. In late that year, 58 foreign tourists killed in the southern city of Luxor. Egypt's tourism industry collapsed following that massacre.
Since then, the sector has recovered well. August saw a record number of tourists visiting the country. According to AFP, prior to the Sinai attacks, Egyptian authorities were projected some 8 million tourists in 2004. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)