Minister: Projected tourist bookings down 65% following shark attacks

Egypt's projected tourist bookings in 2011 have fallen by an estimated 65 percent due to the recent spate of shark attacks near Sharm al-Sheikh that led to the death of a German tourist early this month, Egyptian Tourism Minister Zuhair Garranah said before parliament on Wednesday.

Garranah attributed the decrease to the heavy coverage given to the phenomenon by the international media, which, he said, had focused heavily on the series of attacks for more than one week.

The minister, however, went on to note that relatively few existing bookings had been subject to cancellation.

He also expressed support for safety recommendations made recently by the environment minister and governor of South Sinai to surround swimming beaches with safety nets so as to avert any future attacks.

One week before the death of the German tourist, four other vacationers–a Russian and three Ukrainians–were also attacked, although not fatally.

According to the Russian Tourism Federation, Russian tourism to Egypt fell by some 20 percent in the immediate wake of the attacks.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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