Qassem Soleimani`s death shakes Egypt tourism again

Although the American air strike at Baghdad airport is thousands
of kilometres from Cairo, its echoes seem to have shaken the hopes
that Egyptian tourism will recover from its long setback.
After the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the Middle East is no longer
the same as before, as all Shia militias loyal to Iran declared a state
of alert in preparation to avenge Soleimani’s killing.
The escalating tension in the Middle East was not far from Egypt,
as some countries began to advise their citizens not to travel to any
Middle Eastern countries.
For example, British tourists in Egypt were yesterday warned to be
vigilant over the risk of terror attacks. Echoing warnings for
Turkey and the UAE, the Foreign Office advised travellers to Egypt
to be on guard.
The British Foreign Office has changed its advice for 14 countries
in the region, considering that there are fears that holidaymakers
at resorts popular with Westerners could become an easy “soft”
target for terror groups sympathetic to Iran.
The British Foreign Office asked travellers to “remain vigilant” and
keep up to date on the latest developments.
The Foreign Office stopped short of telling people not to travel,
meaning anyone who tries to cancel a trip over safety fears is
unlikely to be refunded.
Stronger warnings were issued for Iraq, where the Foreign Office
warned against all travel, except in the northern region of
Kurdistan. It also strengthened its travel advice for Iran, warning
against all but essential travel.
Thousands of Brits are enjoying winter sun holidays in North
Africa and the Middle East. Although the number of British
tourists in Egypt is less than that of Russian tourists, British
tourists are among the highest spenders.

Mahmoud al-Sayed, a worker at a Hurghada hotel, says that one
British family may spend more than an entire delegation from an
eastern European country.
Mahmoud hopes that the latest warning will not affect the rates of
tourist arrivals, but he admits that European tourists have many
options and would prefer any region where he is safer.
Mahmoud notes that the British warning means British tourists
will be directed to other safer areas, or tourists will begin to choose
destinations where no warnings have been issued.
In its latest travel advice, the British Foreign Office issued advice
for countries including the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Israel,
Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Anyone travelling to
Turkey was been warned to steer clear of areas near the borders
with Iraq and Syria.
In Egypt, the Foreign Office warned that terrorist attacks could be
“indiscriminate” and that terror groups have targeted tourists in
the past.
A Russian passenger plane from Sharm el-Sheikh was bombed in
2015, killing all 224 people on board. Britain suspended direct
flights with Egypt since that incident, which were only resumed
two months ago.
Britain was not involved in the US air strike that killed Soleimani,
but is viewed as an ally of America and could be seen as a target by
Egyptian tourism has been hit hard since the revolution of January
25, 2011, but it suffered a severe blow after the bombing of the
Russian plane in 2015. Tourism is an important source of Egyptian
national income and a major source of foreign exchange in Egypt.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism says that the year 2019
witnessed high rates of tourist arrivals at Egyptian resorts,
especially after Russia and Britain resumed direct flights to most
Egyptian airports. However, the recent recovery of the tourism

sector in Egypt appears to be in the wind after the Soleimani
Dr. Paul Stott, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told
the Daily Mail: “In the past Iran or the groups it sponsors have
looked to target holidaymakers and community centres in areas of
Africa, Latin America, and southern Europe.”
“It may be here, in the months to come, where Tehran seeks its
revenge. Iran has long seen the UK as a nemesis and these targets
could well include British military bases in Cyprus and the Middle
East, and holiday resorts frequented by Brits overseas.”
A spokesman for ABTA, which represents travel agents, said it was
monitoring the situation.