EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed on 19th May 2016 killing 66 people, and as always there are the carrion cries of doom, declaring that flying is no longer safe and that the Egyptian tourism industry is dead. This simply isn’t true.
The EgyptAir crash is undoubtedly a tragedy, with 56 civilian passengers and 10 crew among the dead. No one as of yet knows exactly what happened, and it is likely that no one ever will despite endless 24 hour news reports picking apart every last detail and rumour, but as of the time of writing terrorism is being touted as the most likely suspect and parallels are already being made with the tragic Malaysian Airline disappearance and the Russian MetroJet bombing.
The truth is, no one really knows.
Yet that hasn’t stopped the vultures from circling, spreading panic about flying and declaring the death of the Egyptian tourism industry, including one spectacularly ignorant article stating that EgyptAir flight MS804 is the final nail in the coffin.
This is the worst kind of knee jerk reactionism, and a hard dose of reality is needed very quickly.
It is certainly true that Egypt’s tourism industry has taken some hard blows since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, with plane crashes, terrorist attacks and even an idiot posing as a terrorist to hijack a plane reducing the number of tourists who travel to Egypt every year by a significant number. In a country that relies so heavy on tourism, this has undoubtedly hit the economy hard.
But Egypt will bounce back. It always does.
Egypt has been hit by terrorist attacks before, and the tourism industry has slumped, but has always risen again as fear and panic is replaced by common sense and reason.
Egypt has always worked hard to not only ensure the safety of tourists heading to the region, but also make a strong visual show of doing so. Even going as far as placing visibly armed guards at sensitive tourist hotspots and making tourists travelling in armed convoys in the past.
A lot of it was overkill. But it was necessary to calm the mass panic and reassure tourists that they could come to Egypt safely. And despite the heavy handed delivery, the message was always absolutely true.
Egypt is an absolutely amazing country, and it is absolutely safe to travel to.
I love Egypt with a passion, and have visited multiple times, even in the so called ‘dangerous’ period of the Egyptian revolution. Apart from dealing with a few overeager touts I have never once had any problems there, I have never once felt in danger. I have visited a wonderful and safe country, and had some of the most memorable times of my life.
Even if this latest tragedy does turn out to be a terrorist attack, does that mean that the worlds tourism industry should shut down? Does that mean that travellers should let the terrorists win by doing exactly what they want and stay at home out of fear?
Of course not! Giving into terrorists is never an option!
If it does turn out that flight MS804 crashed for some other unknown reason, does that mean that all planes should now be grounded out of fear?
As Superman once very rightly said, flying is still the safest form of travel, and he was right.
The crash of EgyptAir flight MS804 is a tragedy, whatever the reason. Lives have been lost and thoughts and prayers should rightfully go to their families and loved ones. That however is no reason for the general public to give into mass fear and panic, that is no reason why moronic scaremongering by the mass media should be given any more credence than it deserves.
Things need to be kept in perspective. Incidents like these are so high profile precisely because of their rarity.
So I urge you, if you have been thinking of cancelling your trip to Egypt like so many other tourists, don’t. Go there, travel through what is a truly awe inspiring country. See some of the most spectacular historical sites in the world, immerse yourself in a truly ancient and friendly culture. Don’t give into fear. Don’t let the terrorists or the scaremongering media rob you from what could be the trip of a lifetime.
The Egyptian tourism industry will no doubt suffer in the short term, as some tourists don’t listen to the voice of reason, but there is no doubt that at some point tourists will return to this mesmerizing country, they will visit the pyramids of Giza and the tombs in the valley of the kings again.
And the Egyptian tourism industry will survive and thrive once more.
Egypt has been an immense tourist draw for thousands of years. It will not lose that lofty status now because of a few despicable cowards, an attention grabbing media and a few panicked individuals.
What did you think of this article? Would you cancel or change plans after a terrorist attack? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.