By Abel Razzak El-Shweiky
There are positive indicators for a continued increase in the number of tourists visiting Egypt in the second half of 2012, he added, noting that confidence in Egypt’s democratic transition and optimism as a result of the presidential elections will lead to higher tourism rates.
“Tourists visited Egypt during the first five months of the current year at a rate 29% higher than the same period in 2011,” Said Abdel Nour, “and the sector is gradually moving towards full recovery with the improvement of the security.”Initial indicators provided by the foreign offices of the Egyptian Tourism Authority point to an increase in visitors from Western Europe and Russia.
Arrivals from Japan and Spain also contributed, particularly in Luxor and Aswan due to the new weekly flight between Cairo and Tokyo, which helped to attract Japanese tourists, adding that a flight between Cairo and Osaka will open within days.
“We were able to revive tourism from Spain which had nearly stopped throughout the last two years,” said Abdel Nour, “more tourists are coming from Western Europe, especially the United Kingdom and Germany. In addition, there is an increasing number of tourists from Russia, who generally frequent Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.”
The government is finalising plans to re-open Nile cruises between Cairo and Luxor within a month. Docks in Beni Sueif and Assiut have been completed and work is 95% complete at docks in Minya and Sohag.
Investors, however, remain reluctant, calling on President Mohamed Morsy to articulate a clearer vision for tourism in Egypt in order to allay the fears of potential tourists as well as tourism agents.
Assam Aud, managing director of the Radamis Group, an Egyptian tourism and hospitality company, suggested that the new president should “hold discussions with international tourism companies in touristic destinations such as Sharm El-Sheikh” in order to reassure them that the new Egyptian government encourages tourism.