It is back to business at the Egyptian resort of Hurghada, but the latest attack on holidaymakers is another nail in its coffin, according to a Maltese businessman who is in the city.

On Friday militants wounded two Austrians and a Swede at the Bella Vista Hotel, hours after Isis claimed responsibility for a separate attack in Cairo.

The two assailants were armed with knives and pellet guns, and entered the Bella Vista hotel through a restaurant after opening fire. Claude Sciberras was with his Egyptian friend Ali Aref at a café situated five minutes away by car.

Speaking to this newspaper by telephone yesterday, Mr Sciberras said such attacks continued to cause harm. “Today it looks like business as usual… but it won’t be. These incidents keep setting businesses back,” he said.

Mr Sciberras, who is staying at a hotel near the site, said there seemed to be an increased police presence in the area.

Egypt has been trying to revive its tourism industry after years of unrest following the 2011 uprising. The downing of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai last year, claimed by Isis, was a major blow.

Mr Sciberras noted that incidents like the one on Friday affected his and his friend’s diving businesses; however, this was secondary to the massive structural economic damage that areas such as Hurghada was experiencing, with hotels at 10 or 20 per cent occupancy and several operations closing down.

“Yesterday’s attack is about the generated perception that is destroying tourism. The terrorists’ damage is not just immediate; it creates a ripple effect. Businesses have been suffering for years and every incident is another nail in the coffin,” he said.

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