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No more beach tan

Muna Al-Fuzai

Muna Al-Fuzai

Terrorism is affecting everyone’s lives today everywhere and tourism seems to be at risk. European tourism companies received thousands of requests for cancellation of bookings to Tunisia for the month of July after the deadly attack there, which claimed the lives of 38 tourists, mostly from Britain, in the tourist area of El Kantaoui in Sousse.

The tourism companies received cancellation requests for this summer despite an announcement by the Tunisian government to step up security measures at hotels and beaches.

Tourism is a key source of income for many countries and now it is at risk because a tourist goes to a place where there is comfort and safety and does not want to die at the hands of a crazy terrorist. But unfortunately, it seems this summer many people will be prevented from enjoying the beach and getting a tan. The cancellation of bookings is surely unpleasant for all. But this is a normal reaction.

It may take some time for people to forget and be ready again to go back to their normal lives and favorite summer destinations. The biggest problem is of tourists who were planning to visit Tunisia on their own, because they cannot make a cancellation or get compensation.

This is sad, because Tunisia - as I know it very well - is a beautiful country with great beaches, but we are all passing through a delicate and tough time because of international terrorism. The reality of the situation in several countries in Asia and Africa makes them worrying destinations for tourists. No one wants to venture to possible war zones and possibly get killed there. The situation of Egypt is nearly the same as Tunisia.

Egypt depends on tourism as a source of income, but now this industry is facing a great danger and government statements do not seem to reduce the hesitation and concern of tourists. The tourism sector in Egypt and its investments are part of the infrastructure associated with local employment and many private sector companies, so any damage to the industry means the loss of work and failure of businesses. Egypt is not facing a war against domestic terrorism only, but also has a problem with Libya and this is really unfortunate, because Egypt has a legacy of tourism not only for foreigners, but all Arabs.

There is a need for a rescue plan for all countries that rely on tourism to boost security measures in order to ensure the safety of all visitors. Otherwise, these countries will lose an important sector and lots of money because official statements will not change the facts.

For example, the ministry of tourism and municipalities need to cooperate with the chamber of commerce and the interior ministry to monitor tourist sites, set tight security measures and invite delegates in small groups to visit the country. Tourists will not stop traveling to where they can enjoy swimming, beaches and tanning. This is the best message that everyone can send to all terror organizations.

By Muna Al-Fuzai

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This article was published on 02/07/2015