Egypt eyes more Arab tourists in 2015 with new campaign

Tourism minister says the campaign “will have a significant influence on inbound tourism to Egypt”

Shounaz Meky - Al Arabiya News
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Egypt’s Tourism Ministry has launched a new campaign, “Masr Qareeba” (“Egypt is close”), to attract Arab visitors.
Arabs make up 18-19 percent of tourists to Egypt, according to industry experts.

The country’s hot climate makes it a popular destination during winter for tourists seeking a holiday in the sun at relatively affordable prices.

The campaign “will have a significant influence on inbound tourism to Egypt,” said Tourism Minister Hisham Zazou.

Adel Abdel-Razek, a member of Egypt’s Tourism Chambers Federation, told Al Arabiya News: “Arab tourism is an essential resource for the Egyptian tourism sector.”

Abdel-Razek said the Tourism Ministry is encouraging direct flights from Jordan’s capital Amman and Lebanon’s capital Beirut to tourist hotspots such as Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Kuwait City, and the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, launched direct flights to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh in early 2014.

Tourism is an important source of foreign currency to Egypt, but has been hit by violence and instability since the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The industry suffered another blow in mid-2013, when President Mohammad Mursi was ousted by the military after mass protests against his rule.

Abdel-Razek said Arab visitors are expected to play a significant role in the revival of tourism, especially since a weak Russian ruble is expected to keep many Russian tourists away.

“Arab tourists spend at a high rate and are friendly toward Egypt,” he said, adding that Egypt’s Arab tourist industry grew by 300 percent in 2014 compared with 2012.

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