Egypt’s big plan to attract tourists back to its shores
Earlier this week, Hisham Zaazou, the current Minister of Tourism, unveiled a blueprint that is designed to lure holidaymakers back to Egypt?s Red Sea beaches and historic sites ? while steering them clear of the rather more famous attractions in and around Cairo.
The number of inbound tourists in Egypt has plunged dramatically in the last 18 months.
Last September, only 300,000 overseas visitors entered the fabled land of Tutankhamen and Cleopatra ? a drop of 90 per cent on figures for the same month in 2012.
Mr Zaazou hopes that, if potential tourists can be convinced to forget Cairo and the disturbances on its streets, they will still travel.
Interesting advice: Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou has expounded a vision of travel to the country that does not include Cairo
?Events in Cairo are being perceived as happening across Egypt, which is simply not the case,? he says. ?For the time being, we will adopt a pragmatic approach of not promoting Cairo, and focus on the rest of Egypt ? Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea.?
?There are one million square kilometres of country beyond Cairo that are unrivalled in their appeal to UK visitors.
?The issues we continue to face on the path to democracy are ?Egyptian-on-Egyptian? in their nature, and are focused solely in our capital Cairo.
?International visitors have not been targeted.?
Cairo has been a scene of regular uproar since the Arab Spring began in early 2011.
February 2011 saw the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in a wave of popular protest, but the removal of the president who had dominated Egyptian politics for 30 years ? occupying the top job since 1981 ? did not bring an immediate end to the upheaval.
The appointment of Mohamed Morsi ? perceived to be Egypt?s first democratically elected president ? in June 2012 seemed to deepen the divisions in Egyptian society. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi was deposed in July amid more violent scenes.
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