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Egypt to see 10.5 million tourists by end of 2011: Tourism minister

Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour says the forthcoming Christmas season will bring 1.5 million further visitors, taking annual revenues to $9.5 billion, roughly 25 per cent less than the year before

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Saturday 10 Dec 2011
Saqqara
Tourism is beginning to pick up, but revenues are still down a quarter on 2010 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt will see a total of 10.5 million tourist visits by the end of 2011, bringing in a total $9.5 billion in revenue, according to the country's tourism minister.

The statistics -- which show a quarterly drop on last year's revenue -- were cited by Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour in an interview with Ahram's Arabic gate.
 
Abdel-Nour said that Egypt had already seen an 9 million tourists in the year to the end of November and will host a further 1.5 million this month, with Christmas and New Year traditionally being one of the busiest seasons.
 
Egypt's once lucrative tourism industry, which brought in US$12.5 billion last year, has been rocked by uncertainty since January's uprising. 
 
The country saw 14.8 million tourists in 2010, in visits that generated around 12.5 per cent of Egypt's GDP, Abdel Nour said in a recent TV interview.
 
Tourism has made a partial come-back in the large Red Sea resorts, such as Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh, but is slower in Cairo and in the heritage sites of Luxor and Aswan, authorities say.
 
Visitor figures were down 45.7 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier and 35.4 per cent in the second quarter. 
 
Abdel-Nour said the year-end figures represented a strong 'achievement' given Egypt's political turmoil and string of violent confrontations; the most recent of which happened just two weeks ago, with pitched battles between protesters and riot police on Cairo's central Mohamed Mahmoud street.
 
The ministry of tourism is planning a package of new measures to help the industry emerge from its crisis, Abdel-Nour said.
 
These include new overseas promotional campaigns for Egyptian tourism, diversifying the sector away from cultural and beach tourism, and supporting new charter flights to five airports: Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan and Marsa Alam.
 
Abdel Nour said in a recent TV interview that it was difficult to predict how the tourism sector will perform in 2012 given the ongoing parliamentary elections, later presidential elections and the potential of both to stir further demonstrations and conflict.
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