Shoddy security in Sharm costing Red Sea operators dearly

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Shoddy security in Sharm costing Red Sea operators dearly

November 11, 2015 - 17:24
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Dive operators take another blow as governments warn travellers against all but essential travel to Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt's vital tourism industry is already feeling the pressure of a dramatic fall in holidaymakers. (Filephoto)

Incompetent or complicit Egyptian security was probably involved in the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

As authorities investigate whether a bomb could have been smuggled aboard Metrojet Flight 9268, CNN has seen private security personnel in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, using handheld bomb detectors that British officials and security experts say just don't work.

Despite tightened security in the resort in the wake of the disaster which claimed 224 lives, CNN witnessed security guards at hotels and shopping centers using "bomb detectors" of a similar design to those banned for export by the British government.

Cause still unconfirmed

ISIL has claimed responsibility for the destruction of the Kogalymavia flight bound for St Petersburg, but the cause of the crash is still unconfirmed. The Egyptian-led international investigation team has announced that it is too soon to jump to conclusions amid high speculation that the crash was a result of a terrorist attack.

A final investigation into the cause of the crash has yet to be concluded, with some aviation experts suggesting the crash may have been the result of a sudden mechanical failure. However, others have claimed a bomb is more likely.

The British authorities decided to shut down flights to and from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh after the country’s intelligence intercepted messages of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization suggesting a terrorist attack in the region, the Daily Telegraph reported citing its sources.

Economic woes

Tourism is one of the three most important pillars of the Egyptian economy, along with income from the Suez Canal and agriculture. In 2014 tourism’s total contribution to Egypt’s GDP was about 12.8% and the source of 11.6% of total employment.

Following the Egyptian revolution the security situation in northern Sinai deteriorated. Although this is mainly confined to the cities of Arish and Rafah, near the border with Israel, it still harms the tourism industry. Significant efforts are being made to resolve this.

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