An attack on a tourist bus near the Giza pyramids will be a setback for tourism to Egypt, the boss of a leading trade association has admitted.
At least 16 people were injured, including seven South African holidaymakers, in the explosion close to the Grand Egyptian Museum on Sunday.
Aito chairman Derek Moore said: “We are so very sorry to hear the latest news from Egypt – both for the millions of Egyptians whose livelihoods depend so heavily on tourism and also, of course, for the South African visitors caught up in this attack.
“There is no doubt that it’s a setback for Egypt, just as things seemed to be settling down somewhat – but it’s important to remember that this attack is in an area that represents but a small section of the enormous range of cultural treasures and sites of what is a large country.”
Aito has 12 members companies that organise trips to Egypt.
Moore said: “Terrorism is something that we’ve all lived with for a long time now, unfortunately – at home and when travelling abroad.
“Discussing this with fellow council member of Aito, Jono Vernon Powell (Nomadic Thoughts), we agreed that, aside from the tragedy heaped upon innocent tourists and local stakeholders, the resilience of destinations is very encouraging.
“In the last year we have seen terrorist attacks in tourist destinations such as Indonesia, Belgium, Jordan, Holland, Egypt, Australia, Morocco, Kenya, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
“Unless there is a subsequent FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] travel advice warning against ‘all but non-essential travel’, by and large – in Aito’s experience, as well as across the wider travel industry – these destinations have bounced back remarkably quickly.
“The truth is, we think, that the public has become more aware of the statistically very low chances of being involved in such an incident, and less guided by terrorist sensationalism and wall-to-wall media coverage.
“Personally, I am confident that the Egyptian authorities are doing everything they can to minimise the chance of any repeat incidents; they understand, of course, the vital need to give confidence both to visitors and to the governments of those countries from which tourists travel to visit Egypt.”
However, the FCO continues to warn that terrorists are “very likely” to carry out attacks in Egypt. Flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh remain grounded following a Russian charter aircraft being blown up in October 2015 after taking off from the Red Sea resort’s airport.
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