Egypt need to set priorities that are best for it in the long term, and looking to Saudi investors who have stood by it during its recent, radical transformation is a good starting point.
Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zazouh admitted that Saudi investors are facing problems in his country and has promised that his government will solve them.
He said Egypt is also looking forward to new investors and announced that an investment conference will be held soon. Zazouh said he expected the number of visitors to Egypt to climb to 13 million by the end of this year, an increase of 17 percent compared to the previous year.
He said this was the figure before the Jan. 25 revolution which had registered an all time high of 14 million tourists in 2010. He was speaking at a press conference organized by the Arab Tourism Organization in Jeddah.
Zazouh said that the number of Saudi visitors stood at 241,000 in 2012 up from 128,000 in 2011. Seeing this upward trend, he expects a greater number of Saudi tourists this year. He focused on the importance of the tourism market in Egypt, and in the light of the fact that 16 Saudi projects at an estimated $ 27 billion are facing problems.
Zazouh said his ministry is working on establishing a database for hotels and furnished apartments and is creating unified contracts for residential units that regulate the relations between the owner and the government, under the state’s supervision. He said this will be accompanied by regulating inbound tourists by operating a bus service from either Hurghada or Nowebie.
The minister denied international media reports about the deteriorating security situation in Egypt. “Limiting the whole of Egypt to what takes place in a square kilometer in central Cairo gives a false image,” he said. “What’s happening in Egypt is an internal matter. Arab tourists and Saudi tourists in particular are always welcome in Egypt,” he added.
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Photo credit: Tourists walk along the main corridor of the Temple of Hatshepsut, a day after a hot air balloon crash left 19 foreigners dead, in Luxor. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters