Egypt's tourism ministry to pay LE50,000 to family of slain bus driver

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Feb 2014

Ministry will also compensate those injured in Sunday's bombing in South Sinai

Taba Bus
Taba, Feb. 17, 2014 An Egyptian policeman stands guard in front of a damaged bus after a deadly explosion Sunday near the Egyptian border crossing with Israel in Taba, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 (Photo: AP)

The family of Samy Joseph, the Egyptian bus driver killed in Sunday's bomb blast on a tourist bus in South Sinai, will be paid LE50,000 ($7,177) as compensation for his death, Egypt's tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry is also planning to pay for hotel accommodation and transport back to Cairo for those injured in the attack, said tourism ministry spokesperson Rasha El-Azazy.

The bus had been carrying 33 South Korean tourists in the Red Sea resort town of Taba, near the Egypt-Israel border, when it was attacked by what Egyptian officials say was a suice bomber. Four were killed.

The blast will not bode well for Egypt's already-struggling tourism industry.

A media spokesperson for Russia's tourism bureau said that some Russian tourists are now cancelling trips to Egypt and demanding refunds from travel agencies because of security concerns, according Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

Egypt's tourism authorities denied the claim, though.

With the exception of South Korea, which suspended all flights to Egypt directly after the bombing, there have been no cancellations from Egypt's top visiting countries, said Ahmed Shokry, head of international tourism at the Egypt Tourism Authority.

Tourism in Egypt represented around 9 percent of the country's GDP in 2010, a year before the 2011 popular uprising.

Despite enjoying periods of apparent recovery, the wave of terrorist attacks since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi has posed a significant challenge for the industry's hopes of a comeback.

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