Egypt sees 33pct rise in German tourists; govt to ease visa restrictions for Chinese

Dalia Farouk and Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Sep 2012

Egypt's tourism sector sees some level of recovery as German tourists increase by 33.6 per cent during the first half of 2012, while officials have high hopes for greater numbers of Chinese tourists in 2013

Couples enjoy the water at a beach at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (Photo:Reuters)

German tourists travelling to Egypt have reached 500,000 this year, rising 33.6 per cent during the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year, stated Hisham Zazou, Egyptian minister of tourism, Saturday.

At the opening ceremony of the workshop of German tourism agents in El-Gouna (around 400 kilometres southeast of Cairo), Zazou added that the first six months of 2012 saw 6.7 million overnight hotel stays, a rise of 40 per cent compared to the first half of 2011.

There are around a billion tourists worldwide, which affirms that tourism is one of the country's top priorities, as it is a key source of foreign currencies, while building job opportunities, according to Zazou.

On the visit of President Mohamed Morsi to China, Zazou commented that Egypt hopes to attract 160,000 Chinese tourists in 2013 compared to 110,000 tourists last year, and this will happen through increasing flights between the two countries and easing visa restrictions for Chinese travellers.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in the first half of 2012 grew by 23 per cent to reach 5.08 million, according to data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics released in August.

Tourism revenue plunged 30 per cent to $9 billion in 2011, against $12.5 billion in 2010.

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