Ghost town Sharm El Sheikh


Once bustling resort is almost deserted as terror attacks keep thousands of tourists away.

The beaches and bazaars of Sharm El Sheikh used to be bustling with tourists enjoying the Egyptian sun.

But after a decade of political turmoil and the downing of a Russian holiday jet last year, killing all 224 passengers, tourists are staying away and the Red Sea resort resembles a ghost town.

Visitors numbers are down by almost half, leaving beaches abandoned, hotels closed and businesses struggling - as these striking pictures show.

A sign reads 'Welcome to Sharm el-Sheikh' in the Old Market district. But its upbeat tone belies the reality: shut shops, quiet beaches and abandoned hotels.


An empty swimming pool at a deserted resort in the town. The British government advised against travel to the Egyptian resort on November 4 last year after an Airbus 321 operated by Russian airline Metrojet crashed, killing 224 people.


In this photo, a hotel employee works on the shoreline in the resort town of Naama Bay. The UK Foreign Office is still advising against all but essential travel by air to Sharm since the downing of the airliner, which Isis claimed responsibility for.


The lobby of an abandoned resort is seen through a window. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, Egypt attracted 346,500 tourists in February 2016 compared to 640,200 last year. This represents a drop of 45.9 per cent. The country attracted 15 million visitors a year up until the 2011 Arab Spring, but this reduced to just 9 million in 2014.


A young boy runs past souvenir shops in Soho Square. Travel firm Thomas Cook has joined British airliners including British Airways, Easyjet and Monarch in cancelling all bookings to the resort.


Empty deck chairs are seen on a hotel rooftop overlooking the resort town of Naama Bay. Egypt has also been hit by a reduction in the amount of nights that tourists are spending there. This has reduced from 9.2 nights in February 2015 nights to 5.5 in the same month this year.


A building under construction in Naama Bay. But many resorts have already been abandoned and business forced to close due to the decrease in visitor numbers.


A tourist boat is seen passing by empty beach chairs. Eleven years ago Britons were among 88 people massacred by terrorists in Sharm, and in 1997, 62 tourists were gunned down by Islamists while visiting the ancient remains at Luxor.


Empty market stalls are seen in Naama Bay. In recent years Egypt has been riven by popular uprisings which unseated long-term president Hosni Mubarak, briefly allowed a flowering of democracy, but then led to army strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi becoming president.


A driver waits to collect a passenger arriving at baggage claim at Sharm El Sheikh airport, where there was an uproar after guards were filmed taking cash from tourists to help them skip security.


An unfinished water slide is silhouetted against the setting sun. Supporters of Islamic State are now active in the Sinai region that surrounds Sharm.


Tourists take part in a desert quad bike tour, with trips often including a camel ride and 'Bedouin dinner'.


A man works on a mosque under construction in the Old Market district. The economy of the resort is based on tourism, making it extremely vulnerable to political instability.


Tourists take photographs at an amusement park. Egypt is not the only destination suffering because of Isis-inspired terrorism. Another country to see an unsurprising tourist slump is Tunisia, to the west along the north African coast, where 38 holidaymakers including 30 Britons were massacred by an Islamist in June last year.


There are no punters at the entrance to this British-themed sports pub. The advice on the Foreign Office website currently states: 'Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks in Egypt. Further attacks are likely'.


A man walks next to a hotel under construction in the Nabq district. Although the Egyptian government is anxious to revive tourism, a major source of foreign exchange for the struggling economy, the West has limited confidence in its ability to guarantee safety.


A pirate themed tourist boat docked at a marina next to boats that usually take tourists out into the Red Sea.


A security guard outside a restaurant in Naama Bay, where business is suffering after a dramatic decrease in foot-fall.


Despite the gross over-supply of accommodation for tourists, hotels continue to be built in the desert around Sharm.


At another abandoned hotel, which included a casino, replica coins and gambling chips are seen in a state of decay at the front entrance.


A shop manager prays inside his store in the Old Market district, where businesses are struggling.


A tourists takes a selfie in a largely empty stadium during an equestrian event at an amusement park.


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair used to stay at this villa at the New Town Hotel during family holidays.


Sharm has not always been so quiet. In this photo, tourists take a dip in the sea on December 2, 2010.






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