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ITB Berlin News - Day 1

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 23

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 23 Tourism Back on Rise in Egypt Incredible history and culture lure international visitors Hon. Hisham Zaazou Minister of Tourism - Egypt Hon. Hisham Zaazou, formerly the Senior Assistant to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, was named the new Minister of Tourism for this renowned global destination in August 2012. Zaazou came to this position after more than 30 years in the public and private sectors. Beginning in 1980 in North America with R&H Tourism Co., he expanded operations to Egypt. He then moved on to Sakkara Travel as General Manager. His interest in the role of the public sector in tourism started when he was elected as the Director General of the Egyptian Tourism Federation followed by his appointment as Assistant to the Minister of Tourism in 2008. Egypt, the 2012 Partner Country for ITB Berlin, saw a 17% increase in tourists in 2012. Hon. Hisham Zaavou, Egypt’s Minister for Tourism, explains more about the national goals... Tourism is one of Egypt’s top priorities and a vital source of foreign currency, which also creates an outstanding opportunity for job creation. This has been reflected in the fact that the tourism industry employs 12.6% of the total Egyptian workforce. Approximately 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt before the 25th January Revolution. We, as the Tourism ministry, are working extremely hard in order to achieve our goal of bringing 30 million tourists to Egypt by the year 2020. Egypt has started its transformation into becoming a stable and democratic country, and we hope that this will play an important role in attracting tourists to our great nation. Amidst the multiple changes Egypt is weathering, the impressive variety of history and culture, plus the splendor of the myriad experiences that can only be had here, are not only preserved, but also safeguarded by the People of Egypt. After a drop from 14.5 million tourists in 2010 to a little under 10 million in 2011, 2012 has seen a healthy increase in visitors. How did the year finish? Egypt will always be a major worldwide destination and the number of tourists that visited Egypt in 2012 is 11.5 million, an increase of 17% in comparison to 2011. During 2012, tourists spent 138 million nights in Egypt, which is a 20.67% improvement in comparison to 2011. Furthermore, the amount of income generated through tourism increased by 13% in 2012 in comparison to 2011. The ministry is doing all it can to get back on the right path and achieve figures similar to the ones in 2010 - and eventually even better ones. Corresponding with ITB Berlin we are seeing the reopening of the Kebbash road, connecting the Luxor and Karnak Temples. What new products are being launched? Egypt is a remarkable tourist destination offering an utterly unique and very special experience for tourists of all nationalities and cultures. The Tourism industry in Egypt – resilient as ever – continues to develop, plan and move ahead with various new and unique promotional programs and products. For instance, we have recently resumed the glorious super-long Nile cruises from Cairo to Aswan after a period of more than 15 years when they did not run. The Kebbash Road, connecting Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple, will also be reopened to visitors in March 2013, after we are working extremely hard in order to achieve our goal of bringing 30 million tourists to Egypt by the year 2020. restoration work has been completed. Furthermore, new measures are being taken to renovate the area around the pyramids. All tourist sites in Egypt are fully open to visitors as usual. All the new improvements and development processes that are taking place in countless places across Egypt could not have been achieved without the support of the current government and its acknowledgment of the tourism industry as one of pivotal importance. The Ministry of Tourism – once again – expresses its commitment to further develop and sustain this vital industry. How do you plan to encourage investment in the sector? I think the positive messages sent by the President and the Prime Minister to the whole world confirming their support of the tourism sector are important. Also, emphasizing that Egypt always welcomes its guests, promising them unforgettable experiences while encouraging foreign investments in all fields, is key to growing confidence for potential investors. [Interview by Richard Barnes] Hall 23 A ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 6 th March 2013

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