Egypt expects 11 million tourists by end of year

The number of tourists arriving to Egypt is expected to reach 11 million by the end of this year, Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour said on Tuesday.

Egypt is capable of attracting 20 million tourists annually, the minister told reporters at the Egyptian Embassy in Paris.

Abdel Nour voiced optimism about a gradual rebound for tourism in Egypt which, he said, has grown from what it was immediately following the revolution.

The number of foreign tourists coming to the country was affected by the security vacuum that followed the 25 January revolution.

Egypt’s tourism saw a drop of 80 percent in February 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, he said. But the drop decreased to 60 percent in March, and 35 percent in April, he said.

Emphasizing the importance of tourism for the country’s economy, Abdel Nour said that Egypt received 14.8 million tourists in 2010, which brought in revenues of US$13 billion (11.5 percent of Egypt’s GDP).

Tourism represents Egypt’s biggest source of hard currency, added the minister.

Abdel Nour said he met his French counterpart, Frederic Lefebvre, who voiced support for Egypt’s tourism sector and added that he will pay a visit to Egypt in September, accompanied by representatives of tourism companies and media outlets.

The minister noted that with 600,000 visitors, France came in fifth among countries which send the most tourists to Egypt. French tourists stayed in Egypt longer than the 10-day average spent by tourists of other nationalities.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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