Ten people, including four French, die in a bus accident in Egypt

EGYPT — Ten people were killed in a bus crash in Aswan, in Egypt’s touristy south, on Wednesday, April 13, the governor said. Among them are four French and one Belgian.

In addition, 14 other people were injured – eight French and six Belgians – and are in “stable condition” after being hospitalized for “breaks, bruises and superficial injuries,” according to a governorate press release.

The accident happened early in the morning when the bus carrying tourists collided with a car on the almost 300 km long desert road to the temples of Abu Simbel.

7000 road deaths in 2020

Traffic accidents are commonplace in Egypt, where roads are often poorly maintained and traffic laws are not obeyed.

In the most populous country in the Arab world with 103 million inhabitants, 7,000 people were officially killed in traffic accidents in 2020.

The more than 3000 year old temples of Abu Simbel, which were removed from their original location with the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s-70s to prevent them from being submerged by the rising waters of the Nile, form one of the most important Tourist attractions of Abu Simbel Egypt.

Tourism very affected by Covid, then war in Ukraine

After years of political instability linked to the 2011 popular revolt that dealt a major blow to the key tourism sector, Egypt had just managed to bring visitors back in 2019, particularly by promoting its ancient heritage.

But in 2020, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, revenues from tourism – which employs two million Egyptians and generates more than 10% of GDP – plummeted from $13 billion to $4 billion.

In August 2021, Russia resumed flights suspended for six years after a fatal crash, reviving the sector at half-staff.

But Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine put a brutal end to the revival, while until the war both of their countries accounted for 40% of tourist arrivals in Egypt, mostly on the Red Sea.

The French and Belgians, on the other hand, are the first contingents of visitors to the pharaonic sites of Luxor and Aswan.

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