Arab tourism influx to Egypt during the past year accounted for 36.3% of the total traffic of 5.3 million tourists, according to Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashed. He added that Saudi Arabia was the top Arab country in terms of number of tourists to Egypt, with 507,000 tourists, followed by Jordan with 180,000, Kuwait with 150,000, and then Lebanon with 86,000 tourists.
Rashed said in a statement obtained by Daily News Egypt that the total number of Arab tourists in 2016 amounted to 2 million tourists, up from 1.7 million in 2017—an increase of 17.6%.
The first quarter of 2017 witnessed an increase of 38.8% in the number of Arab tourists compared to the same period last year, according to Rashed, expecting tourism to recover during the current year.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority are successfully participating in the Arabian Travel Market exhibition held between 24 and 27 April.
Rashed said that the ministry’s participation in the exhibition aims at enhancing cooperation with the partners in the region and reinforcing efforts to attract Arab tourists, noting that Arab tourism is extremely important to Egypt.
He added that Egypt is always keen to provide attractive factors for the Arab tourist, the most important of which is facilitating entry and visa procedures and motivating aviation from Arab countries.
The minister explained that work is now underway to facilitate the entry of companions accompanying tourists arriving from the Arab Gulf countries, next to facilitating the receipt of visas at ports of access for tourist groups coming from the Arab Maghreb countries.
This year, the Egyptian booth reviews the Egyptian tourists’ destination that can satisfy all tastes, with a focus on cultural, religious, and therapeutic destinations, including the “Path of the Holy Family” destinations, which was revived by developing the sites on the Holy Family’s route. The ministry has already developed 8 out of the 25 points on the route.
The eight archeological sites include the Church of Abu Sarja, the Hanging Church in Old Cairo, the Church of the Virgin in Maadi, the three monasteries of Wadi Al Natroun, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Bird, the Muharraq Monastery, and the Holy Virgin Mary Monastery in Assiut. The development is being carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Antiquities, and the Coptic and Catholic churches.
Head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Hisham El-Demery said that Egypt aims to highlight therapeutic tourism through its participation in the exhibition, adding that a law is now being prepared to regulate that.
In the field of therapeutic tourism, the Helwan Sulfuric Centre for Rheumatism and Physiotherapy has been very important, next to the Bahariya Oasis and Siwa Oasis with their mineral water springs.