Tourists being killed does seem to bring out the worst in people in our tourism industry.
Egypt’s tourism minister Hisham Zaazou is a case in point, claiming that the recent cancellation of all UK flights into and out of Sharm El-Sheikh by our Government is “unjustified”. The emergency and completely justified move follows the crash of Russian Airbus A321 in Sinai on Saturday October 31st shortly after leaving Sharm El-Sheikh for St Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board. Concerns that a bomb might have been secreted on the flight have led to completely understandable concerns about security at Sharm El-Sheik airport, hence the cancellation of flights, for the ultimate safety of passengers, until this can be assessed by experts. Currently the flight recorder has recorded an explosion on board.
This is certainly not the first time that Egypt has been seen to be unsafe as a destination for tourists, with years of political upheaval and more than 1,300 killed in terrorist attacks since 1993. One series of bomb attacks targeting tourists in Sharm El-Sheik left 88 dead and 150 injured in 2005.
Zaazou has told the press that he “hopes a mechanical failure was the cause of the crash and that the incident does not affect the country’s tourism industry”, this said to be worth more than £5billion annually.
Some compassion from Egyptian tourism officials for the 224 tourists who recently died, horribly, after contributing to the £5 billion might win Egypt some respect. The callous and obvious focus on concern for the economics that keep them in their well-paid jobs will only lose it.