Bella Vista Resort Hotel Hurghada, Egypt, the facts
On Friday 8th January 2016, I like others saw breaking news headlines of a terrorist attack on a hotel in Hurghada (Bella Vista Resort Hotel). The headlines read “ISIS Gunmen Storm Hurghada Hotel, Killing Tourists” then the Chinese Whispers took over and I heard stories of terrorists coming out of the Red Sea like in Tunisia, shooting tourists in the hotel, the number of dead ranged from 2 to 20 and they had explosives, machine guns and knifes.
All very good for the media stations and media websites for getting people to read their stories, but awful news for Hurghada (Egypt), a country already struggling with low tourism after a few years of turmoil following the ousting of President Hosni Mabrouk. We have our own staff living and working in Hurghada, so like everyone else we were panicking and I called them on the mobiles, and the response I got was “don’t worry we are all safe here and don’t listen to the media it has all been hyped up as usual”, this stopped me worrying but amazed the media could have got it so wrong, so I started looking at the local Hurghada Facebook Pages.
There were lots of posts from people living in Hurghada, even some that were in the hotel and their stories seemed very different from the media, over the next hours and after the initial confusion cleared, the true story started to emerge. Having been connected to Hurghada with our Real Estate, Furniture and Rental Companies, since early 2007 we have a lot of good friends and contacts so I started to get in touch with some of them to hear the news from those on the ground and who work in the hospitality industry. One of our team Mohamed told me the perpetrators had knives and plastic guns, which they threatened some guests in the restaurant with and one guest was badly injured with the knife and others injured but not life threatening, the police were called and they shot both of the perpetrators, killing one and injuring the other who was arrested. The General Manager (GM) of the hotel has given a statement this morning which you can read by clicking here – Bella Vista Resort Hotel GM’s Statement (It reads very similar to the facts given to me by Mohamed on the 9th January)
ISIS haven’t claimed responsibility’ which if it was a terrorist attack I am sure they would be claiming it, others are putting it down to a robbery or propaganda by brainwashed individuals trying to harm the tourism industry, whatever it is the media have once again written whatever they want with no thought of the damage they are doing to a country already suffering and the Egyptian people that rely on tourism to feed their families. Yes, we have interests in Hurghada and some will say we would say it is all nonsense, but I am writing this using facts not fiction and if you speak to anyone that visits Hurghada they will tell you they feel safer there than they do in their home countries. I for one feel much safer walking around Hurghada at night than I would do walking around Manchester, in fact I wouldn’t walk around Manchester at night, but I do all the time when in Hurghada, also I doubt our stretched police forces would be able to react as quick as the Egyptian police force did here.
Over the weekend, the media started rewriting their stories with the BBC changing from Gunmen ‘attack Egypt tourist hotel’ to ‘Three tourists stabbed at Hurghada hotel’ yet still mention suspected Islamic State militants, yet as I have mentioned above ISIS haven’t even commented on the attack never mind accepted responsibility. I am not trying to belittle the issue, but tourists are attacked every day all around the world but because the media can’t make up ridiculous headlines and stories about it, they don’t even bother reporting it most of the time. I was never a big fan of the way the media operate, and normally not being so close to it and not having first hand accounts I like others just go along with what they say however, I now know how much they distort the truth to sell their stories. They should be brought to account and be told to investigate stories properly and then report on them using facts not Chinese Whispers, and I don’t just mean this one.
To finish here is a video of one of the men injured, and in his own words he states “The shot I heard was the shot that killed one of the criminals. So I think it was just crazy guys. It can happen anytime, anywhere. It’s just bad coincidence that I was there. And some crazy guys come in and they stab me,” said Olovsson. He doesn’t mention anything to do with terrorism and I don’t think you could get anyone closer to the action than this victim, I will leave it for you to decide was this a real terrorist attack or a couple of brainwashed victims of the world we live in and the media have jumped in and thought they would try and make it sound like a full blown ISIS terrorist attack?
Personally, I will still be going to Hurghada and I will still feel a lot safer there than I do at home in Manchester, the Egyptian people are some of the nicest people you will meet and you don’t just become friends with them, you become part of their family for life.