Egypt making use of recent growth in tourism: minister
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CAIRO – Egyptian Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat praised on Monday the tourism sector as one of the most growing sectors worldwide.
Speaking at a press conference with the board of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, Mashat said her ministry seeks to make use of the recent growth in tourism through solving problems facing this vital field and improving skills of tourism staffers.
She noted that a five-axis structural program has been outlined to upgrade the tourism sector in Egypt. All state bodies, topped by the Tourism Ministry, are cooperating to ensure a successful organization of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled to be held in Egypt later this year.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Mashat said that Egypt's tourism is in constant improvement with a growing number of tourists from Western, Arab and Asian states.
"We had a leap in tourism in 2017 and a large boom in 2018, when Egypt was visited by renowned foreign figures," the minister said. The revenues of Egypt from tourism saw a year-on-year increase of 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to reach 4.8 billion US dollars, while the number of tourists arriving in the country increased by 41 percent to exceed 5 million.
Tourism in Egypt, a major source of its national income and foreign currency reserve, was hit with a heavy blow following the Russian airplane crash in North Sinai in October 2015, after which several countries, including Russia and Britain, suspended their flights to Egypt.
This aggravated the recession in the country's already ailing tourism sector because of political instability.
Even before the Russian plane crash, Egypt suffered a sharp decline in tourist arrivals because of three years of political turmoil, including two mass uprisings that toppled two presidents. Several countries were forced to ban their citizens from travelling to Egypt for safety reasons.