Non-profit Italian tourism association suspends Egypt tours until Regeni murder solved

Ahram Online , Saturday 2 Apr 2016

The Italian Association for Responsible Tourism says all its members will suspend travel activities to Egypt

Giulio Regeni (Photo:Facebook)
Giulio Regeni (Photo:Facebook)

A non-profit Italian tourism association has decided to halt all its travel activities in Egypt until the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni is solved, it said on Thursday.

"Egypt is a wonderful country that offers great cultural attractions…but a vacation is not possible in the context of pain and indignation," the Italian Association for Responsible Tourism said in a statement published in Italian on its official website.

The association said it "has decided to suspend all activities in Egypt, in particular, the travel programme, until it clarifies the tragic story of the murder of Regeni."

The group, which promotes responsible tourism and provides links to tours organised by accredited partners, said all its tour operators had already suspended their activities in Egypt.

The body of the 28-year-old PhD student, who was in Cairo conducting research on independent trade unions, was found with signs of torture by a roadside on the outskirts of Cairo on 3 February. He went missing on 25 January.

Egypt has vigorously denied claims that security forces were involved in Regeni's murder.

Last week Egypt's police said they had killed four members of an alleged criminal gang it accused of robbing and kidnapping foreigners, and that they later found the student's passport and other belongings in the apartment of a sister of one of the suspects.

But the latest findings by Egyptian investigators have been met with scepticism by the Italian investigators and by Regeni's family.

"AITR hopes for quick clarification on what happened and [seeks] honest collaboration that will lead to the truth," read the statement, which was signed by the association's president Maurizio Davolio.

An Egyptian prosecutorial delegation is set to travel to Rome on Monday to update Italian prosecutors on their latest findings.

Egypt has been struggling to revive its tourism industry, a main source of foriegn currency to Cairo, which was hit hard due to political turbulence after the 2011 uprising. 

The tourism industry took another hit recently after several countries suspended flights to the country following the October 2015 crash of a Russian airliner over Sinai that killed all 224 on board.

Italians are among the top groups of European tourists to Egypt, with over 400,000 Italian visitors according to  2013 figures.

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