Tourists have begun to flee from Sharm el Sheikh after the crash of the Russian airbus which happened last October 31, killing 224 people. Despite the fact that it has not been established yet whether this was an ISIS attack or not. “There have been around 80% of bookings cancellations in the resort, while almost half of them – at least 40% – of the tourists have left” informed the Chamber of local tourism. If confirmed, these data are alarming. Yet, they do not surprise Pier Ezhaya, the vice president of Confindustria Astoi Travels, which associates over 90% of tour operators. “If flights from Russia and Britain are blocked – explains Ezhaya – it is obvious that hotels are empty. We consider that the Russian market is huge for this region: about 3 million people every year. The English are numerous as well, around a million”.
As to the Italians, says Ezhaya, “the situation is different. Without the contrary indications of the Farnesina, the destination continues to be working, flights continue to leave and tourists are spending their vacations in the chosen resorts. The haemorrhage of cancellations we feared has not happened. There is a decline in bookings of about 10%-20% which concerns both last week and next weekend”. Also Claudia Cardinale, the godmother of the cinema Festival in Cairo, has made an appeal to come back to Egypt – “We need to fight to make sure that people will come back to Egypt, a very beautiful country, one I love, and hope that tourists will come back soon,” she said.
While Cairo opens to collaboration with USA investigators, with Pesident Sisi who guarantees the “transparency” of the ongoing investigation, the sources of the U.S. State – cited by CNN – say that the crash may have been caused by a C4 plastic explosive. It seems that the explosive was placed in the plane by an employee of the Sharm-el-Sheikh Airpot. Later, with the aid of a programmed detonator, it was put into action after the plane had taken off.
“It is unlikely that the bomb has been brought on board by a passenger”. Egyptian President has come back unexpectedly today and invited to caution, reassuring tourists and investors. “Nothing will be hidden and the results of the investigation will be announced with transparency”, he has promised, adding that “if there are errors, they will be announced”.
Sisi has addressed also the Egyptians, inviting them to “unite in difficult moments”, whereas talking to the tourists he has reassured them: “Egypt is stable and safe, and everything needed will be done in order to protect you. You are welcome here”. In the morning, during an interview for CNN, the head of the Egyptian diplomacy Shoukry Sameh has announced that the country has accepted the request of the US investigators to partake in the investigations. Cairo’s consent means that investigators will have access to the plane’s scrap and engines and this could mark a significant development in the investigation.
After the recent plane tragedies, control procedures will be reinforced. Civilian flights, from now on, will be tracked also by the satellites and not only by radars: the agreement, reached during a UN meeting in Genève, will change radically the monitoring of civil aviation after the still unresolved disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight last year.