Egypt tourism ready to make a comeback, says officials

Published: 29 August 2020 - 3 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani has called for an international conference of tourism ministers to be held in Egypt, saying the country is ready to restart its tourism industry.

Members of the tourism ministry reported earlier this summer that the country has been losing upwards of US$1 billion a month due to a lack of tourists.

Following talks with UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTWO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, Anani believes the time is now to talk about a revival plan.

Pololikashvili later said that UNTWO stands ready to help Egypt in its efforts to restore its tourist industry to its pre-pandemic levels. After a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, he praised the steps that have been taken to achieve this, and said he has seen first-hand the precautionary measures implemented by hotels and is satisfied with them.

“Here we see firm measures being taken to prevent the spread of the disease, and those who work in the tourism sector are adhering to them,” he said, adding that tourists will gradually begin to return.

Plans for a revival conference were welcomed by many across the country, including Ecotourism Committee of the Arab Guide Unions head Tarek Sarhan. Sarhan said the conference would put Egypt back in the spotlight for curious tourists, while reassuring travellers of the country’s safety.

“We are now entering the winter season and it is an opportunity to restore Egypt to its pioneering role in the tourism sector,” he said.

Chamber of Hotel Establishments member Hisham Al-Shaer added: “Fifty-five percent of the hotels in Egypt have now reopened, which represents 660 tourist facilities. Most investors are not looking for now at the economic aspect, they just want to return to acceptable operating levels.”

Egypt’s economy relies heavily on its tourism sector, making up 12 percent of overall GDP and 9.5 percent of all employment in the country.

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