CORRECTED: 8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2012: Minister

Dalia Farouk, Tuesday 13 Nov 2012

Tourism minister Hisham Zazou stated that he is concerned about the negative impact of political events on cultural tourism

A tourist takes a photo at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the South Sinai governorate,(Photo: Reuters)

Around 8.1 million tourists visited Egypt in the first 9-months of 2012, injecting some $10 billion into the economy, announced Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou on Monday during the annual conference of the Scandinavian embassies in Cairo.

Zazou added that around 96 million overnight stays by tourists in Egyptian hotels were recorded in the same period.

Malin Karre, the Swedish ambassador in Cairo, said that Scandinavian tourists consider Egypt to be one of the best beach tourism destinations worldwide.

The Egyptian minister confirmed that beach tourism in the country has bottomed out, while cultural tourism in Luxor and Aswan is suffering due to the negative impacts of political events.

He hopes that the number of tourists will reach 11 million by the end of 2012.

Zazou referred to the tourism as a vital pillar of the national economy, representing 11.3 per cent of Egypt's gross domestic product and 17 per cent of its foreign currency reserves, in addition to 12.6 per cent of the total manpower of the state, with four million people directly employed in the industry.

Recently, Egypt's Coalition to Support Tourism (CST) has that said it will file a case against top Egyptian officials for inaction in response to statements by a Salafist sheikh who called for the demolition of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

In a television interview on Saturday night, radical Salafist scholar Morgan El-Gohary called for the destruction of Egypt's monuments as they "were once worshipped and could be worshipped again."

This article was corrected on 25 November. The tourist numbers is for the first 9 months of 2012 not 10. 

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