World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt is seeing a promising rebound in tourism following devastating extremist attacks, in welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he seeks re-election this month.
Among them is Bent Skovboe from Denmark, a 77-year-old who says he has visited Egypt more than 75 times.
"If there was only Red Sea for snorkelling, I will come, but they also have pyramids in Cairo, temples in Luxor, the Nile and Aswan, and the people are very friendly," says Skovboe, decked in a swimsuit with a cold drink in hand.
Already in decline after the toppling of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt's tourism industry was dealt a devastating blow in 2015 when extremists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board.
The Islamic State group, which has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in an insurgency based mainly in North Sinai, claimed responsibility for the airline attack.
Sisi, who is running virtually unopposed in the March 26-28 election, has pledged to wipe out the extremists, saying such attacks pose an existential threat to the state.
Talking about attacks on tourism earlier this year, Sisi said: "When I say the goal is to bring down the state, you have to know how that is done. When a certain sector is targeted, he (an attacker) knows what he's doing."
IS, now encircled in its Sinai strongholds, has pledged to redouble efforts to attack tourists and the industry is a barometer of the stability Sisi has promised to restore.
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