Russians wary of vacationing in Egypt following shark attacks (Update 1)

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Tour operators have recorded a significant drop in the number of Russian tourists taking vacations in Egypt following the recent shark attacks in the Sharm el-Sheikh region.

Tour operators have recorded a significant drop in the number of Russian tourists taking vacations in Egypt following the recent shark attacks in the Sharm el-Sheikh region.

An elderly German woman was killed in the attacks at the popular diving resort and three Russians and one Ukrainian were severely injured.

"There is no doubt that the news coverage of the shark attacks in Sharm el-Sheikh has scared tourists away," Irina Sivenko, a spokeswoman for Moscow's TanTour tour agency, told RIA Novosti.

Following the attacks, the Egyptian Tourism Ministry closed all beaches in the resort to ensure the security of tourists. Local authorities said last week two sharks believed to be behind the attacks had been caught.

However, the Egyptian Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) announced on Monday that most areas off the Sharm el-Sheikh coast could be open for experienced divers starting from December 7.

Highly-trained divers who have registered no less than 50 dives will be allowed to snorkel under the control of CSWS team members in the waters off Tiran Island and to the south of Na'ama Bay, Sharm el-Sheikh.

Diving is strictly forbidden in the areas of Ras Nasrani to the north of Na'ama Bay where teams of Egypt's Ras Mohammad national park are searching for the killer shark.

Specialists explain the move saying that diving in these areas poses no danger for experienced divers. So far, there have been no reports of any highly-trained divers hurt in recent shark attacks.

Sivenko said most tourists are refusing to go to Sharm el-Sheikh and other resorts in the area, although there are some who call to find out if the news has made package holidays to Egypt cheaper.

Egypt is a popular travel destination for Russians during the fall and winter months due to the country's relatively simple visa regime, warm climate, and good diving possibilities.

The shark attacks come just weeks after a bus crashed near the Egyptian resort city of Hurghada, killing nine people, including two Russians and two Ukrainians.

MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) 

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