Maspero violence hits winter tourist season

Dalia Farouk, Tuesday 11 Oct 2011

Tourists cancel their trips to Egypt following violent clashes in Cairo on Sunday

many tourist groups have cancelled their winter holidays in Egypt (Photo:Reuters)

"Maspero events represent a relapse for tourism, after signs of relative recovery with the start of the winter tourism season, which begins in October," said Tharwat El-Agami, president of the Chamber of Tourism and Travel Companies and Agencies in Luxor.

El-Agami added that many tourist groups have cancelled their winter holidays in Egypt, especially those coming from the UK and Germany.

Even one day trips from Hurghada to Luxor, or from Hurghada to Cairo, were also affected by protests, according to El-Agami, who said that four buses out of 23 which were supposed to make a trip from Hurghada to Aswan were cancelled, as well as trips between Hurghada and Luxor.

"Those cancellations caused big losses to tourism companies and hotels," said El-Agami, adding that the average figure of occupied rooms in Luxor's hotels does not exceed 5 per cent. 

Hesham Zaazou, first assistant at the ministry of tourism, agreed that the events will have a negative impact on tourism flows to Egypt, though added that it could not be measured on the spot. "We are still receiving reports from our offices abroad, and we intend to do an analysis of the consequences over the short, medium and long term and how to manage the problem," said Zaazou.

Sami Mahmoud, vice president of the Egypt Tourism Authority, also believes it is too early to assess the scale of the impact on tourism. "The initial reports we are receiving from Authority offices based abroad suggest that there is intensified media coverage of the events in media around the world." Mahmoud stressed that security and stability are a key factor in attracting tourists. 

Clashes between Coptic protesters and security forces have left at least 25 dead and more than 200 injured.

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