Egypt aims to raise $1 bn through investment fund to support tourism

The fund is expected to raise $250 million by next quarter and the remaining amount within a year

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Egypt hopes to raise $1 billion through an investment fund to support its tourism sector, tourism minister Hisham Zaazou said on Wednesday, after more than three years of violence, and political instability that have decimated the sector.

A roadshow was likely to start in July with Gulf Arab states, he said, which have already given billions of dollars in aid to Egypt. The fund is expected to raise $250 million by next quarter and the remaining amount within a year.

Violence, which flared when Hosni Mubarak was deposed in 2011, has intensified since the army ousted the country's first elected president in July. That has further depressed interest from tourists and foreign investors.

More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million after the revolution that toppled Mubarak. The sector picked up in 2012, attracting 11.5 million but shrank again to 9.5 million last year after various attacks on tourist destinations.

Two South Korea tourists were killed in February when a bomb hit their bus in South Sinai near the Israeli border.

Egypt is under increasing pressure to find sources of revenue to cover its budget deficit which swelled to 14 percent last year. Its foreign reserves dipped to a critical low last year and its tourism revenue dropped by 43 percent to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will be sworn in as president on Thursday after he won more than 90 percent of the vote this month. A low turnout threatens to deprive him of the strong mandate he needs to fix the economy.

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