The Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETAA) and Ministry of Transport requested that the international road between Sharm El-Sheikh and Cairo be expanded and illuminated in order to avoid traffic accidents in the future and protect the lives of travellers, according to Maher Nassif, chairman of the Transport Committee at the ETAA.
According to Nassif, the rise in road accidents is partially caused bus drivers’ low capabilities and poor road conditions. The ETAA is working to overcome the first issue by establishing a driver training centre in May 15th City.
A bus on the Sharm El-Sheikh road carrying Egyptian workers collided with another vehicle on Friday morning, killing 38 people.
“It was not a tourist bus but some people are missing, and we must pay attention to our roads and implement speed deterrents for all vehicles, whether they be tourist vehicles or otherwise,” Nassif said.
Egypt suffers one of the top 10 highest rates of traffic accidents across the world and incurs approximately EGP 10bn annually as a result, according to the World Health Organization.
The government intends to take significant measures to curb road accidents over the coming days, according to Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb commissioned Zaazou with following-up on the issue, ensuring that care is provided for all victims of the accident, and that action is taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity paid EGP 10,000 to each family of those killed in the accident and EGP 2,000 to each person injured according to Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda.
The Ministry of Tourism stipulated that tourism companies install GPS devices in order to monitor speed.
“Licences should not be granted unless a speed control device is installed,” said Nassif.
Ilhamy Zayat, Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Tourism, feels that establishing a training centre for drivers under the tourism ministry will work to increase the capabilities of tourism bus drivers by making training a requirement for obtaining driving licences.
Tourism buses represent one means for domestic tourism traffic for Egyptians in light of the high cost of airline tickets. Prices can exceed EGP 1,500 per person from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh, according to Nassif.
Tourism to Egypt decreased during the second half of 2014 to 4.5 million tourists, representing a 25% decline from the same period last year.
The decline in foreign tourism has led to an increased interest in domestic tourism, especially during peak seasons, according to Nassif.
Land transport ticket prices rose by approximately 15% due to July’s hikes in gasoline and diesel rates, Nassif added.