Crowded streets were filled with foreign and Egyptians tourists and investors with taxis and busses packed. Loud lively music echoed at the Naama Bay strip. Hotel occupancy rates were at their highest and restaurants were fully booked. That was the scene eight months ago during the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. Now, the streets are empty. The music has stopped and the crowd is gone. Sharm El-Sheikh is vacant.
Following the Russian plane crash, a decree previously signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin banned all Russian airlines from landing in Egyptian airports. The UK also banned flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. Britain supplied Moscow with intelligence regarding the Russian plane crash in Sinai. The US is also set to assist in the investigation.
So far, nothing but conflicting reports have been announced from all involved countries.
As the days passed, the situation escalated and national carrier EgyptAir was banned from landing in Russia by the country’s state aviation agency.
A day after President’s Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi surprise visit to Sharm El-Sheikh on Wednesday, Daily News Egypt headed to the touristic spot in order to examine how it has been recovering after the recent Russian plane crash, which took the lives of 224 tourists. “Islamic State”-affiliated militant group “State of Sinai” claimed responsibility, but no official evidence was revealed to support such a claim.
The one-hour visit of the president was intended to check on security at the airport. This visit, however, did not prompt Russia or the UK to change their stances on the travel bans.
Sharm El-Sheikh suffered the consequences of the crash, as Russian and British tourists followed the instructions of their governments and fled the city, abandoning it for locals and small businesses that depend on tourism for their basic life necessities.
Photos by Doaa Farid