Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour on Sunday said he expects the number of foreign tourists visiting Egypt to reach 10 million by the end of the year, compared with 15 million last year.
During a talk show on Dream satellite TV channel, Abdel Nour said the ministry has set up a program that aims to boost local tourism in the face of the decrease in foreign tourists.
In the program one person will pay LE1450, which includes plane tickets and hotel accomodation, in an effort to help unemployed hotel workers and EgyptAir in particular.
Abdel Nour said the program, sponsored by EgyptAir, the National Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services and the Tourism Promotion Authority, targets Egypt's middle class and is funded by the tourism fund.
The minister expressed optimism that Egypt will overcome its tourism crisis. He predicted an increase in the number of Arab tourists from Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, especially during the summer, and said tourism rates will return to normal if security is restored.
Last year, tourism brought Egypt US$13 billion, representing 11.5 percent of the gross domestic product.
Abdel Nour also called Egyptian expatriates as an "uncovered treasure," saying they could play a great role in encouraging tourism. Egyptian embassies don't have accurate numbers for expats, he added.
He said the main problem currently facing the tourism sector is Egypt's security situation.
Translated from the Arabic Edition