The tragic hot air balloon crash in Luxor on Tuesday comes at a time when Egypt's tourism industry has been struggling to prove that the country is still safe to visit in the wake of the 2011 revolution.
Nineteen people died when canisters aboard the balloon exploded over Luxor, a popular destination for tourists visiting its ancient temples and tombs.
International tourism has long been a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) figures showing it generated $10.1B in 2012.
"To give you an idea, international tourism generates more income to Egypt that the Suez Canal ($5.1B in 2011 as compared to $8.7B from tourism that same year)," UNWTO chief of communications Sandra Carvao said. "In terms of the impact on jobs, tourism employs directly nearly 18 million people."
In January -- two years after the start of the 2011 uprising that overthrew long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak-- protests again took place in Egyptian cities. Official media reported that at least seven people were killed during clashes between anti-government protesters and those loyal to new President Mohamed Morsi.
Nadejda Popova, senior travel and tourism analyst at market research company Euromonitor International, acknowledged that the ongoing political unrest -- as well as Europe's economic downturn -- had affected Egyptian tourism.
But she said Egypt remained a key Middle Eastern tourism destination and that there were indications that there had been a slight recovery in 2012. Euromonitor's preliminary figures suggested that there had been a 4% rise on 2011 to 9.4 million tourism arrivals -- as well as signs investors had not given up on Egypt's tourism market, she said.