Travelers Avoiding Egypt; Airport Arrivals Down 40 Percent

Last week's riots and killings throughout Egypt have delivered "a severe blow" to the country's tourism industry, NBC News is reporting. Until recently, tourism accounted for more than 11 percent of the country's gross domestic product and nearly 20 percent of its foreign currency revenues. According to the article, one in eight Egyptians earn their money from tourism.

Governments from around the world have issued travel warnings for their citizens in or planning to visit Egypt, and several cruise lines have changed their itineraries to avoid the country. Last week, a gunfight broke out in front of the Four Seasons Cairo Nile Plaza. (Guests and staff of the hotel were unharmed.)

The chairman of the Egyptian Airports Company, Gad el-Karim Nasr, told NBC that arrivals at airports throughout the country have dropped by more than 40 percent from Sunday through Tuesday compared to the same time the previous week. Simultaneously, 13,000 tourists, mostly from Germany and Italy, have left the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada—with only 3,000 new arrivals coming in to fill the hotels.

Business travel has also been affected: The New York Times recently reported that major corporations like Royal Dutch Shell have closed offices and cut off nearly all business travel, an companies with travelers still in the country have mostly pulled back to secured areas, where conditions are being monitored hour by hour.

When the crisis began in July, corporate travel managers with employees in Egypt were reminded that they were responsible for maintaining risk management travel policies to help ensure safe working conditions. Among other things, the story notes, employers are expected to know where their traveling employees are, to regularly evaluate security and safety conditions in places where they send employees and to be able to communicate with them. Employers also are generally expected to have emergency procedures, including those for getting employees out quickly.

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