WTM 2018: Egypt ‘co-operating’ with UK over British couple’s death

Egypt’s tourism chief says the government is continuing to co-operate with the UK over the sudden deaths of a British couple in Hurghada.

John and Susan Cooper died on August 21 while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel on a Thomas Cook holiday in the Red Sea resort.

The Egyptian authorities said they had died as a result of E. coli infection but the couple’s daughter Kelly Ormerod has disputed the findings.

A senior coroner in the UK is carrying out a full investigation which includes requesting relevant documents from the Egyptian authorities. However, Dr James Adeley, warned the results of his findings could take months to be released.

Asked if she was confident the UK coroner would find the same cause of death as the Egyptian authorities, minister of tourism Dr Rania al-Mashat Dr Al-Mashat said: “The public prosecutor’s office is the entity responsible.

“They have published their report and will continue to co-operate with the UK. As it is under investigation it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further.”

Last week Egypt pledged to improve its reputation for food hygiene with a project to improve hotels’ cleanliness in Hurghada.

Dr al-Mashat has enlisted international health and hygiene consultants Preverisk to audit more than 100 hotels in the Red Sea resort.

Despite questions still remaining over the deaths, Dr al-Mashat said tourism demand for the region remained strong.

“Tourism continues to pick up,” she said. “There has not been a single cancellation and we still have 40 flights a week coming in.

“Hurghada, Marsa Alam…these areas are doing very well and the winter season is looking very promising.”

Meanwhile a flight ban remains in place from the UK to Sharm El Sheikh.

Dr Al-Mashat said: “From our side, we are completely ready and welcome tourists from anywhere in the world so the decision is with the British government.

We have close co-operation with the UK and look forward to flights returning.”

She said the Egyptian government was poised to launch a tourism programme around sustainability in parliament at the end of the month.

The Travel Weekly team is reporting extensively from this year’s World Travel Market, stay up to date on our live blog and  event microsite


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