After attacks on hotels and tourism sites in several areas in Egypt under the pretext of protests, Egyptian economic experts have asserted that the country’s tourism industry is being targeted intentionally. The main target, they say, is the economy, which is unlikely to revive as long as there is daily turmoil on the streets of Egypt and security officers are deployed everywhere.
Many tourist hotels have been targeted during demonstrations called by the National Salvation Front (NSF). Analysts say that the NSF, which has never condemned the destructive attacks, provides a political cover for the violence. According to the Professor of International Relations at Cairo University, Mohammed Hussein, “The series of attacks on tourist hotels is carried out by paid vandals and they serve only to damage the tourism industry in Egypt.” He suggested that the reason is because tourism is one thing which can revive the Egyptian economy.
Prof. Hussein pointed to the role of the mass media, which projects what is carried out by the criminals as some kind of national achievement because they claim to be fighting for freedom. “However, they are just a few thousand, whereas the mass media speaks about millions taking to the streets,” he said.
The head of the economic committee at the Chamber of Tourism Companies, Basel Al-Sisi, described the targeting of hotels as a “disaster” for the industry. Some tourism companies will be forced to make staff cuts if the attacks continue, he warned. Al-Sisi called for greater protection for hotels and for the security services to investigate attacks and arrest the culprits.
The Egyptian tourism industry has been suffering severe losses since the revolution which toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. It faces further difficulties after today’s hot air balloon crash in which 19 foreign tourists were killed.