26,000 tourists arrive in Egypt on Easter Sunday despite Euro travel alerts

Ahram Online, Sunday 20 Apr 2014

Tourism has suffered amid a widening Islamist insurgency following the 2013 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi

A tourist poses for a photograph in front of Khufu, the largest of pyramids at the historical site of the Giza Pyramids, background, near Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Around of 26,000 tourists arrived at Egypt's various airports from international destinations Sunday to celebrate Easter and the spring festival (Sham El-Nasim), reported state-owned Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

The name Sham El-Nasim (Inhaling the Breeze) comes from the ancient Coptic language that in turn is derived from Pharaonic language.

Al-Ahram detailed that 2,799 tourists came from Israel’s Eilat to visit Egypt through Taba. Some 8,000 tourists arrived at Marsa Allam Airport in Southern Egypt, mostly via international flights.

Red Sea tourist-friendly city Hurghada saw the most visits Sunday, with 15,560 tourists arriving mostly visiting from Russia, Germany and England.

Some 43,000 tourists arrived in the South Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada combined over the last two days.

Egypt’s ailing tourism sector, which contributes 11 percent to the country’s GDP, saw its revenues fall 41 percent to $5.9 billion in 2013 compared to 2012.

Last week, Germany's second-biggest airline, Air Berlin, cancelled flights to Sharm El-Sheikh due to deteriorating security conditions for foreign tourists in the Sinai Peninsula.

The airline's announcement follows warnings by Belgium, Germany and Switzerland for their nationals to avoid Sinai following recent terrorist attacks there.

In February, three South Korean tourists were killed in a bomb attack on a bus in the first assault on tourists since former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in July 2013 spurred an Islamist insurgency.

For its part, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism announced plans to take a series of precautionary measures to bolster security in Red Sea touristic cities.

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