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Leading Brotherhood figure allays fears over Islamists’ effect on tourism in Egypt

Essam El-Erian emphasises that the tourism industry will not suffer under Islamists and that they will seek to encourage tourism

Ahram Online, Tuesday 27 Dec 2011
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Essam El-Erian, a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure and vice president of the group’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), stressed that no undue draconian measures will be imposed on the tourism industry in Egypt.
  
In the wake of Islamist wins in the first two rounds of parliamentary elections, fears that social freedoms would be diminished arose. The FJP and the Salafist Nour Party emerged as the first and second biggest winners respectively in the ongoing parliamentary elections.

A fortnight ago, these fears seemed more plausible when Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakar said the party would enforce a ban on serving alcohol both to foreign nationals and Egyptian citizens if it came to ‎power.

El-Erian, however, dismissed worries over the Islamist impact on tourism, reiterating the Brotherhood’s stance that no such changes will be made, neither in the near future nor after the current transitional period.

“The target is to attract 20 million tourists to Egypt through encouraging Arab and European investments in the field of tourism,” he said during a press conference the FJP held in Sharm El-Sheikh, which is included in the third round of the parliamentary ballot.

“The Islamists would not have an abysmal effect on tourism as widely believed,” El-Erian said.

“We would neither intensify nor weaken the current alcohol law ... We wouldn’t enforce ethics”

Responding to claims that the Islamists would impose a dress code on women, he said: “70 per cent of women in Egypt are veiled, so we will not force the other 30 per cent to wear it.”

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