Hijacked plane incident to significantly harm tourism sector: official

The hijacking of an Egyptian plane from Borg al-Arab airport to Cyprus on Tuesday has set the tourism sector back to zero, said Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, Elhamy al-Zayat.
Zayat added that workers in the tourism sector are afraid of yet more warnings against travel to Egypt, which would further harm the sector.
The incident sends the message to foreign countries that Egyptian airports have failed to raise security standards sufficiently for tourism to resume its flow, Zayat said.
Besides handing over responsibility for airport security to a professional security company, the Egyptian government needs to extend its contract with British security firm Control Risks from six months to two years, Zayat insisted.
But in line with the Tourism Ministry line, head of the International Tourism Sector, Mohamed Abdel Gabbar, reserved judgement for the time being.
"It is too early to determine the impact of the hijacking incident on the flow of tourism to Egypt," he argued.
The incident will have a general negative impact on tourism, which will be especially apparent given the small rise in tourist numbers recently, said former Tourism Minister Sameh Saad.
He believed Tuesday's hijack will be used politically against Egypt and will contribute to further attack on the Egyptian government in international media.
Media reports quoted Russian officials as saying that the hijacking of the Egyptian plane would further postpone the resumption of flights between Russia and Egypt.
The downing of a Russian passenger plane, carrying 224 people on board, in Sinai in October 2015, has caused many countries to suspend flights to Egypt and demand tightened security measures at airports.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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