When a plane crashes, it's always shocking news.

Exactly what caused EgyptAir flight MS804 to crash into the Mediterranean Sea, a few hours after taking off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport bound for Cairo earlier this month, is still being investigated. However, while those involved are reportedly looking at various possibilities, some officials have said they believe it was mostly likely due to a "terrorist attack".

The plane had reportedly been carrying 66 people.

Events like this can knock the tourism industry. Egypt is a country that's traditionally popular with tourists, drawn by the choice of resorts, guaranteed sunshine, historical sites and paradise beaches. But the market's been shaken by several security-related incidents in recent years.


What impact will this latest incident have on visitor numbers to Egypt? And are you confused about whether it's safe to travel? Here's what the industry insiders have to say.

Popularity plummet

"Our search analytics show that the popularity of Egypt and its main tourist spots have dropped dramatically over the past year," says Chris Newlands, CEO of travel social network, www.talkholiday.com. "There is no doubt that people are cancelling trips to Egypt and now looking at other destinations. Our analytics tell us that holidaymakers now like to minimise risk following terrorist activity."

Adapting plans

"Egypt has already suffered a significant fall in demand due to recent events, and has slipped to 30th place in our top-searched destinations across the site," states icelolly.com's chief marketing officer Ross Matthews. "However, we have not yet seen a further drop in searches for Sharm El-Sheikh or Hurghada ... There has been dramatic uplift in searches to Greece, which could suggest that customers are switching to destinations they perceive to be a safer option. This is indicative of a wider trend we have witnessed throughout the past six months, whereby consumers are not cancelling their holiday plans in the face of troubling global events, but simply adapting them."

Stay secure

"Care must be taken in coming to any premature conclusion about the cause of this crash," says Frank Brehany, consumer director of HolidayTravelWatch. "Flying is one of the safest modes of transport. If this incident is proven to have resulted from an act of terror, it's important not to confuse the issue of taking a flight, against the issue of airport security. That said, it's clear a number of issues need to be reconsidered on the air-side of the operation, including how people are hired, what security checks are carried out, how consumables are checked as they enter the airport, and creating a clean perimeter area around the aircraft. Authorities must not shirk their responsibilities in these areas under the mask of security 'secrecy', nor must they place commercial concerns on an equal level to security - security must have primacy over all other concerns. Only when the authorities deliver transparency on this, will consumers be reassured."