Minister: Egypt Eyes More Chinese Tourists as Travel Advisory Lifted

The Egyptian Tourism Ministry is expecting more than 3,000 Chinese tourists in February after China has recently lifted the travel advisory for Egypt, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said Tuesday.

“I am happy with the return of Chinese tourists to Egypt. I personally will receive some 500 Chinese tourists to thank them for choosing Egypt as their tourist destination,” Zaazou told China’s Xinhua news agency.

Zaazou said he is contacting the Chinese authorities regarding the facilitation offered to Chinese tourists by granting them entry visas after their arrival in Egypt.

Egypt is suffering a sharp decline in tourist arrivals due to three years of turmoil, which led many countries to ban its citizens from visiting the country for their own safety.

“Tourists are not a target of any attacks based on domestic issues,” Zaazou said, referring to the recurrent anti-government protests of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and relevant terrorism and violence.

“Tourist sites are completely safe,” the minister added, pointing out that his ministry started to broadcast online live streaming videos of tourist resorts and sites like Sinai’s Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea’s Hurghada and Upper Egypt’s Luxor and Aswan.

Tourism is one of the main sources of national income in Egypt. About four million Egyptians work in the industry. In 2010, it brought the country about US$13 billion as over 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt.

Since the political chaos following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the number of annual tourists decreased to 9.8 million. It returned to 11.5 million in 2012 after Morsi was elected as president, and declined again to 9.5 million in 2013 following his ouster.