Egypt will spend about $32 million to install additional CCTV surveillance cameras, X-ray machines and sniffer dogs at tourist resorts around the country within the next few weeks. The Egyptian government is expected to announce the enhanced security measures Thursday, the Telegraph reported.
The measures are apparently part of the government’s plans to revive the North African nation’s waning tourism industry, a major source of revenue for the struggling economy. Egypt has seen its visitor numbers plunge in the past year due to political instability and attacks claimed by the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations.
The number of tourists visiting the Arab country plummeted 38 percent in November compared to the previous month, Egypt’s official statistics agency reported Monday. The drop came after a Russian airliner crashed in Sinai in October after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. Russian officials determined that explosives had detonated on board the Airbus A321 shortly after it took off from Sharm el-Sheikh. The Sinai branch of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, CNN reported. Following the crash, the United Kingdom banned all flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.
Just last week, three tourists were stabbed at the Bella Vista Hotel in Hurghada on the shores of the Red Sea, just hours after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an attack on another resort near the Giza pyramids. No tourists were killed in either incident, but it led to mass cancellations of planned trips to Egypt.
In the coming weeks, future visitors to Egypt can expect more surveillance cameras, metal detectors and X-ray machine stops at the resort areas of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada. Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou, told the Telegraph the new security measures at hotels will include “sniffer dogs in resorts and training for local staff” and surveillance camera networks will be linked up to government CCTV control rooms. Zaazou said the number of security cameras at Sharm el-Sheikh alone will be doubled from around 100.
“We are not doing it in a way that makes it seem like you are entering into an army field,” he told the U.K. newspaper Thursday. “We are trying to strike a balance between assuring the security level that would make a holidaymaker choose Egypt, and at the same time not in a way that would hamper the vacation.”