Speaking at the launch of “The Tour Guide is the Voice of Egypt” campaign, tourism minister Hisham Zaazou stated that the government is not able to stimulate tourism growth on its own.
Visitor numbers have dipped drastically in 2013, with just one million tourists arriving in the country throughout August – an 80 percent reduction year-on-year.
European tourists have typically accounted for 75 percent of visitors throughout the year. Now the ministry is making a decisive effort to approach more African countries, in particular Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as others, including Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and Japan, according to Mahmoud Shukri of the ministry’s tourism promotion office.
Talks are also in place to bolster the number of Russian visitors throughout the winter months.
A campaign organised by the Egyptian General Tourist Guides Syndicate was launched last week. The ministry has already partnered with Ministry of Civil Aviation affiliates such as Egypt Air, Egypt Express and Smart Air to generate discounts in a bid to increase domestic tourism.
“Internationally, the ministry is moving to reassure European countries on the security situation in the tourist areas, especially cities in southern Egypt, Hurghada, Aswan and the Red Sea, to persuade them to refrain from warning their citizens against travelling to Egypt,” Shukri said.
Egypt’s economy has struggled since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. Foreign investment and tourism have both slowed amid political uncertainty and reserves have been focussed on imported goods since the local currency has tanked.
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