Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou has contacted a number of ambassadors to promote a “more realistic, clear vision of the state of tourism in Egypt,” pointing out that the country’s Red Sea coast is “very safe and incredibly stable.”
In a press conference Monday morning, he expressed his optimism that rates of tourism would increase during the upcoming winter season, admitting that numbers for June and July were disappointing.
He said political turmoil has not affected rates of Russian tourism, saying that Russian authorities have sent their own security crews to the Red Sea and South Sinai regions in order to provide increased security for those travelling to the area. Despite this, Russia did not alter or change its travel warning placed upon Egypt.
Zaazou described German travel warnings on Egypt as “exaggerated”, saying he would soon meet with the German ambassador in order to encourage him to lift such warnings. Zaazou said he would seek to provide a more realistic picture of Egypt to the ambassador, pointing out that the country is passing through a series of unique circumstances due to its transition into democracy. Germany is the second largest source of tourism into Egypt.
He attributed lower prices within the country’s tourist sector for goods and services to the various economic crises and the recent decline seen in the number of tourists entering the country, making sure to point out however that decreases in prices and the quality of products and services offered do not necessarily go hand in hand. He said after events stabilised in Egypt that it would be necessary to make available new offers in order to meet new demands, a fact which will once again help lead to an increase in prices.
Zaazou pointed out that tourism is one of the main pillars of the economy, making up 11.3% of GDP, and creating more job opportunities than any other sector. Roughly 4 million people, or about 13% of the country’s workforce, are employed in the tourism sector.
He said he had recently begun contacting a number of investors, confirming that during these communications he had secured pledges from businessmen to begin pumping additional funds into the tourist market.
He said the Ministry of Tourism had begun installing cameras at a number of tourist sites, in line with protocols previously signed with the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in order to provide foreigners with direct, live feeds of such sites and better promote a more accurate image of the state of tourism in the country.
Zaazou further discussed plans to re-develop the North Coast region, saying: “there currently exist 7,000 individual hotel rooms located along the North Coast, and we hope to increase this number to 15,000 by 2016”.
He said tourist destinations along the coast could compete with those in Turkey and Greece due to the region’s close proximity to Europe, the ability to arrive quickly by plane and the current low price of goods and services.
Translated from Al-Borsa newspaper