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Expected tourist arrivals shrink by 1 million in 2012

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Continued lack of security threatenes to put an end to the movement of tourists, specifically those coming from Europe

By Abdelrazek El-Shweikhi

n Egyptian demonstrator demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak holds a placard asking tourists not to leave Egypt, on Cairo's Tahrir square on 1 February, 2011. (AFP / GETTY IMAGES / Miguel Medina)

An Egyptian demonstrator demanding the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak holds a placard asking tourists not to leave Egypt, on Cairo’s Tahrir square on 1 February, 2011. (AFP / GETTY IMAGES / Miguel Medina)

Minster of Tourism Hesham Zazou stated that he expects the number of tourists in Egypt in 2012 to reach 11.5 million people. These estimates came after the Minister re-assessed his previous estimate that 12.5 million tourists would come to Egypt during the 2012 year.

“The total number of tourists from the beginning of the year to the end of October reached 9.5 million,” said Zazou.

The minister added, “political events in the region do not affect international travel, however it has a large effect on the lack of security that comes naturally with protests.”

According to a report put out by the Minster of Tourism, the month of October saw the largest number of tourists in 2012 with 1.1 million, followed by the months of April which saw 1.047 million, August which saw 1.038 million,  July with 1.014 million, and lastly September which saw 994,000 people travel to Egypt.

President of the Internal Tourism Sector of the Authority of Tourism Promotion Magdi Salim warned of a continued lack of security in Egypt as a result of ongoing political events in the region, which threatened to put an end to the movement of tourists, specifically those coming from Europe who make up 75 per cent of tourists in Egypt.

Salim added that until now the number of vacancies the Red Sea and South Sinai region exceeded 70 per cent, whereas it appears that Cairo has been most affected by the current situation with it’s vacancies between 20-22 per cent, followed by Alexandria whose vacancies are anywhere between 15-20 per cent, and Aswan and Luxor whose vacancies are between 20-25 per cent. “Foreigners are fearful of on-going political events, and more importantly of acts of violence being committed in places such as North Sinai and Tahrir Square,” said the head of the Tourism Committee of the Egyptian Businessmen Association, Ahmed

Balbaa. He added that some British travel agencies have stopped booking trips to Sharm Al-Sheikh because of the lack of the security seen throughout Egypt, postponing all plans until the region is more stable.


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