Tourism in Sharm El-Sheikh feeling little impact from Rafah attack: Official
Tourism at the Egyptian Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh remains unaffected by Sunday's attacks in the north of the peninsula, a tourism official has told Ahram Online.
Salem Saleh, head of the tourism promotion authority in South Sinai, said hotels and other tourism businesses in the major resort have seen no slowdown or cancellations.
Sixteen Egyptian border guards were killed and seven injured on Sunday night when militants attacked a checkpoint near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip.
Egypt's military on Wednesday launched Operation Eagle, aimed at quashing "all terrorist and criminal activity" in northern Sinai.
Speaking to Ahram Online on Wednesday, Saleh said that hotels in Sharm El-Sheikh are currently operating at around 57 per cent occupancy -- a healthy rate for the current low season.
"There have been no cancellations of reservations, hotels or flights. Tourists are practising their normal activites," Saleh said. "No one has asked to cut their holiday short."
The fact that Sharm is some 700 kilometres from the North Sinai site of recent attacks is also limiting tourists' concerns, he suggested, while adding that Sharm El-Sheikh has full security is in place to thwart any threats.
Saleh also predicted that hotel occupancy in South Sinai could rise to 80 per cent during Eid Al-Fitr, the festival season that follows the end of Ramadan.
On Tuesday, Egypt's newly-appointed Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou denied that the fatal attack on Egyptian soldiers and resultant crackdown in North Sinai was having any effect on tourism.
Zazou told Ahram Online that he had personally checked with tourist agencies and they did not report any cancellations.
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