THE number of tourists to Egypt has increased by five per cent this year despite the tensions in the region.
Opening the MTF 2006, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said Egypt needs to diversify its tourist patterns in the future and open up new markets in many parts of the world. He said many new tourism projects and hotels are being set up in Egypt to boost visitor numbers.
Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah said, “Tourist arrivals in Egypt totaled 5,400,000 till the end of July, a five per cent increase from the same period last year.”
By the end of August, the total had increased to six million, he added.
“Arab tourist arrivals in Egypt were up by 10.1 per cent in July, though this is unsatisfactory,” he said. “Tourists from the US were up 20 per cent this year but overall there was a decrease of 10 to 15 per cent in their number after the 9/11 attacks.”
Garranah said Egypt was now on the right track since the last two years to get more tourists from the US.
“We know that travellers from the US have special demands and we are trying to meet that.”
He said Egypt was also studying the China market which, he says, will be the biggest by 2010. “The Egyptian Tourist Authority has already opened an office there and we are planning to flights to and from China. Everybody is in the queue to grab a share of the Chinese market and we hope to do a good job of it. Our aim is to make the Chinese feel at home when they visit Egypt.”
Garranah said Egypt was marketing strongly for the future and a national awareness campaign has been launched to bring the importance of tourism to Egyptians.
Speaking on the Lebanese crisis, he said that Lebanon is a strong country with strong people. “I am sure that the tourist flow from Egypt and other Arab nations will increase once the deadlock ends.”
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