Egyptian Revolution II is just a week old, but already the country's slowly returning tourism industry is taking its first major hit -- this time around -- from the violence.Travel agencies in four major markets have cancelled bookings on flights to Egypt, Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour told Tuesday's Arabic edition of Egypt's daily newspaper, the Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The article was translated by the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) media watchdog organization.Nour said he had received official reports describing international reactions to the violence taking place in Cairo's Tahrir Square from Sami Mahmoud, head of the international tourism section at the Tourism Ministry.
Tour operators in Russia, Japan, Italy and Britain have cancelled their reservations for flights to Egypt as a result of the Tahrir Square riots.Moreover, a number of countries have warned their citizens against traveling to Cairo, Ismaila and Suez, Mahmoud added, among them Britain and the United States. The reports expressed fears over footage depicting violent and bloody scenes from the clashes between protesters and police.
The tourism crisis in Egypt also affects Israel, noted Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov recently. There is a great deal of cross-border tourist traffic, and any drop in tourism in Egypt can affect tourism in Israel as well, albeit not nearly as much.
Mahmoud blamed media coverage for the negative impact on people's travel plans. He called for the government to implement a political, rather than a security-based solution to the current crisis.