Despite the high tension in Egyptian-Saudi relations following the closure of the Saudi embassy in Cairo and its consulates in Alexandria and Suez -- set against the backdrop of an Egyptian lawyer's arrest at a Saudi airport -- observers said the row is temporary and will soon disappear.
The lawyer's April 17th arrest spurred protests at the embassy and led to its closure on April 28th.
The effects of this recent crisis do not undermine the essential nature of the relationship between the two countries, a number of officials told Al-Shorfa.
Awad Abdel-Azim, a coordinator at the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council (SEBC), said he does not expect the future of Saudi investments in Egypt to be negatively impacted by the events.
"Saudi investors are sensible and not driven by emotion, especially since it has become clear that the insults hurled at the Saudi embassy in Cairo were by an insensible few," he said.
He downplayed the significance of the closure of the embassy and consulates, saying they were precautionary security measures taken to safeguard the lives of the Saudi staff and inhibit demonstrations in front of the embassy.
Abdel-Azim told Al-Shorfa that planned Saudi economic packages to Egypt are still on track and are not affected by the crisis, expressing regret that the recent events coincided with the return of Saudi investment activity to Egypt.
The latest reports indicate a surge in the number of Saudi tourists to Egypt in the first quarter of the year. In addition, numerous negotiations are underway to restart stalled projects and possibly commence work on new investment projects immediately, he said.
Abdel-Azim also noted that Saudi investments in the Egyptian stock exchange in the first three months of this year were at around 1.8 billion Egyptian pounds ($300 million).
"Investors on both sides are keen on ensuring that the business and investment sectors are not [adversely] affected," Rashed Abdul Wahed, a member of the Egyptian Federation of Societies of Investors, told Al-Shorfa.
He said a delegation of 60 Egyptian businessmen travelled to the kingdom to cool tensions on behest of the SEBC, the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce and the Egyptian Businessmen's Association.
Abdul Wahed said so far no economic losses have incurred as a result of the political tension, but expressed concern a series of losses could begin if the crisis continues.
Tourism sector officials said religious tourism to the kingdom could be adversely affected if the Saudi embassy and consulates remain closed.
"Attention is now focused on tourism companies that depend on umrah season as a primary annual source of income. If the embassy and consulates remain closed, pilgrims will not be able to obtain visas and the companies will find themselves in a financial predicament on account of the advance bookings they made in the kingdom and the cost of airline tickets," Fahim al-Satrawi, a coordinator at the Egyptian Chamber of Tourist Establishments (ECTE), told Al-Shorfa.
The number of Egyptian umrah pilgrims this season will be close to 600,000, he said.
"The season actually began with the umrah of the Prophet's birthday in January and ends with the Ramadan umrah on August 18. Umrah pilgrims were scheduled to be flown to Jeddah and Medina airports in 1,927 flights, at the rate of 60 flights per day during the umrah season, compared to 10 flights per day on normal days."
Previously issued visas cover trips up until the end of this week, after which trips will have to be suspended due to the lack of new visas, al-Satrawi said. However, he said he expects the crisis to be resolved by the start of next week.
Around 4,000 Saudi visas are usually issued to Egyptian umrah pilgrims per day, al-Satrawi said.
Mohammed Arkobi, executive director of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) in Saudi Arabia, said he does not expect Egyptian religious tourism to Saudi Arabia to stop.
"Political relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are historic and deep-rooted, but the media exaggerates the issue," he said.
"It is unlikely Saudi Arabia will stop issuing entry visas to Egyptians to perform hajj or umrah," he told Al-Shorfa.
Arkobi said it is possible the number of Egyptian umrah pilgrims will decline due to the closure of the embassy and temporary inability of Egyptians to obtain visas, "but I think the matter will be resolved soon".
Mustafa Ali in the UAE contributed to this report.