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The Globe and Mail

Hot-air balloon tragedy latest blow for Egypt's tourism industry

Two years after the rebellion that toppled Hosni Mubarek, the tourism sector struggles to return to the peaks of years past. This week's tragic crash is another blow for the beleaguered industry.

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People attend a memorial March 1, 2013 at the site of a hot-air balloon crash in Luxor that killed 19 people. The tragedy is another blow for Egypt's tourism industry, a major source of income and employment.

Ibrahim Zayed/AP

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An Egyptian security official, left, dressed in a traditional galabya, guards the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor Feb. 27, 2013. The number of visitors to Egypt hit 14.7 million in 2010 but slumped to 9.8 million during the revolution. It rebounded to 11.5 million last year but numbers remain far below their peak.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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A tourist walks inside the Temple of Hatshepsut Feb. 27. Locals blame political turmoil in Cairo for the drop in tourism.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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A dhow sails along the Nile River during sunset Feb. 27, a day after the tragic balloon crash.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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Tourists walk along the main corridor of the Temple of Hatshepsut Feb. 27, 2013. ‘Back in 2010, temples were packed and tomb visits were sold out in a matter of hours. Now the place is near-empty,’ said a tour guide.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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Foreign tourists visit Queen Hatshepsut’s temple. It was once Luxor’s busiest tourist site.

Nasser Nasser/AP

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A cruise boat sails along the Nile River Feb. 27.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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Tourists walk along the main corridor of the Temple of Hatshepsut. Luxor was the scene of a terrorist attack in 1997 in which 60 people, mostly tourists, were killed.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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An Egyptian security official guards the Temple of Hatshepsut. The tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, another formerly popular tourist site, is closed to the public to preserve its delicate paintings.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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A balloon ride over Luxor is pictured in a Dec. 26, 2012 file photo. The government has ordered 40 balloon companies to halt flights pending the outcome of an investigation into the Feb. 26 crash.

Timothy Hellum

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Tourists are driven from the entrance of the Temple of Hatshepsut to its main corridor Feb. 27.

MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

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A cart passes the Luxor Temple while roaming the streets for customers. Political turmoil in Cairo has deterred some Asian and European tourists.

Nasser Nasser/AP

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