Egypt received 126,000 tourists since it has reopened its seaside resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Matrouh to international flights and foreign tourists on 1 July after a three-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Khaled El-Anany, the minister of tourism and antiquities.
One suspected coronavirus case was detected among the arriving tourists, he added. "This is a great achievement that demonstrates the success and efficiency of the procedures introduced by the ministry."
El-Anany's statement was made at a meeting headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in Cairo on Monday. The meeting was attended by Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation Zurab Pololikashvili.
Madbouly said the virus hit the world at a time Egypt's tourism was breaking its own records in terms of the number of arriving tourists.
"It will take some time to pick up the same pace due to tourists' reluctance to travel at the time being," the prime minister added.
He stressed Egypt’s policies target maintaining a balance between the requirements of health and the economy.
Egypt announced the gradual resumption of international flights at its airports nationwide on 1 July. Foreign tourists are allowed to visit three coastal governorates in the first stage of reopening.
The three governorates are South Sinai, where the popular seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh is located, the Red Sea, home to the city of Hurghada, and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean Sea.
About 600 hotels nationwide were allowed to reopen, having met the safety protocols announced by the authorities and at a reduced occupancy of 50 percent.
Pololikashvili told Madbouly and El-Anany he is optimistic about Egypt’s tourism.
He lauded the "tight procedures" Egypt adopted to gradually reopen the tourism sector while preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Starting from 1 September, travellers arriving in Egypt will be required to present a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) lab test result certificate.