Egypt 'is a safe destination'

Poolside relaxation at the Cairo Marriott.

A leading Cairo-based hotelier is inviting visitors to come to Egypt and experience for themselves the charms of the land of the Pharaohs.

Dismissing concerns over security which has hit the Egyptian tourism industry hard since the September 11 attacks in the US and the ongoing Palestinian crisis, Cairo Marriott Hotel and Oman Khayyam Casino general manager Ulrich Huth says Egypt is one of the safest places in the world to live.

Huth who has lived and worked in Egypt for several years said it was unfortunate that lack of understanding had hit the country's tourism industry.

"Safety is the biggest concern for most tourists. But since living here I have found Egypt to be one of the safest places in the world to live. It is certainly less dangerous than some European countries that I have previously lived in," he said.

"For this very reason my family lives with me. My wife, two daughters and even a dog, 2 turtles, 2 horses and hamster. I find that the security measures that are in effect are very successful for anybody staying in Egypt.

"Whenever I walk around different areas in Egypt I always feel a strong sense of security and safety.

"I feel the international community should be made more aware of this important aspect to aid the country's tourist growth.

"The security procedures undertaken in the Cairo Marriott are very strict. In this day and age it's much easier to make an area safe without guests feeling any disruption. I think all people should understand the country's safety by experiencing the peace themselves."

The hotel's sales and marketing director, Hans Loontiens, added Egypt needed to be marketed to reach larger audiences.

He said that although the Egyptian tourism industry had seen recovery after the setbacks of last year, there were many more opportunities that were still not used to advantage.

"We must promote growth in new markets, not just the Middle Eastern market, and provide new incentive packages to encourage new target groups," said Loontiens.

"We must first heavily market the country as a great destination and then show the world what our hotel offers guests.

"Egypt has so much to offer tourists, far more than most other countries."