Egyptian tourism syndicate calls for delisting Qatar, Turkey as destinations

Dalia Farouk, Ahram Online, Sunday 25 Aug 2013

As political ties with Qatar and Turkey deteriorate over the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, some Egyptian tourism sector insiders call for tourism ties to be severed as well

A girl holds a poster of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi during a pro-Islamist demonstration in Istanbul, July 1, 2013. (Photo: Reuters )

Egypt’s Independent General Tourism Workers Syndicate called Sunday for the removal of Turkey and Qatar as tourism destinations as both states refuse to recognise the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as the result of a popular uprising 30 June.

Bassem Halaqa, head of the syndicate, has been calling Egypt’s tour operators to boycott Turkish and Qatari airlines and to use instead the airlines of Arab Gulf States that support the present interim government, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Halaqa added in a statement Sunday that the syndicate would not accept both Turkey or Qatar’s intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs, appealing to Egyptians to follow the Arab Gulf lead and restructure ties with states that still back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It's an expected development, as there are currently political tensions in relations between Egypt and both Qatar and Turkey,” Rasha El-Azayzi, the Ministry of Tourism’s spokesperson, told Ahram Online.

The syndicate move could negatively impact tourism at a time when Egypt seeks to augment tourism, to boost the state’s foreign currency revenues.

According to Al-Azayzi, Egypt saw 38,200 Turkish tourists between January and July of 2013, compared to 24,037 tourists in the same period of last year.

On the other hand, Turkey receives annually around 100,000 Egyptians, mostly for tourism and shopping, according to the Egyptian Travel Agents Association. 

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