The Egyptian tourism industry is huge. The North African country boasts a range of attractions including the great pyramids and spectacular coral reefs. Revenue from tourism peaked at $6.4 billion in 2005 after a huge number of European first-time visitors. However, terrorist attacks have had a detrimental effect on the tourist industry of the Eastern region of Sinai.
Sinai is an area of extreme beauty: rugged, mountainous and isolated from the rest of the country. The region has been an attraction for tourists for many years, most of them coming from Israel. Israelis were attracted to Sinai by the huge coral reef named Blue Hole, diving opportunities and superb scenery. Unfortunately, the both circumstances: a number of visitor from Israel and highland landscape have made Sinai a target for terrorists. Indeed, last April saw 24 tourists killed and 90 wounded in the Northern part of Dahab. Taba saw 34 dead tourists in October 2004. Similarly, over 2 tonnes of TNT explosives were recently found near Cairo along with large amounts of weapons.
The region is a mere 100km south west of the Gaza strip, making it an easy target for terrorist attacks, rather than a haven for innocent holiday makers.
Since the area used to be so popular amongst foreign visitors, major investments were made in the most popular destinations. As a result of the April attacks and preceding terrorist activity, many of these projects have been abandoned. In the north of Dahab, there are now numerous neglected new buildings.