People, Travel

Egypt Seeks New Markets to Attract Tourists

Egypt Seeks New Markets to Attract TouristsEgypt Seeks New Markets to Attract Tourists

Egypt hopes to encourage tourists from new markets like China, Japan and Ukraine, a year after Russia and Britain suspended flights to the land of the pyramids, the country's tourism minister said.

Egypt's tourism industry, a crucial source of hard currency, has struggled to rebound since a mass uprising in 2011. Conditions worsened after the suspected bombing of a Russian plane carrying 224 people from a Red Sea resort in October 2015.

The attack prompted Russia to halt all flights to Egypt and Britain to suspend flights to Sharm al-Sheikh, a resort on the Red Sea. The impact was clear.

"Since then, Egypt has made significant efforts to improve airport security and persuade the world it is safe," said Yehia Rashed, the country's tourism minister, Reuters reported.

It is also looking to attract tourists from countries that until now have not provided many visitors.

"We are trying to build up on some of the market sources that have potential ... The German market, Ukrainian, Chinese, Japanese ... ," Rashed said at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit. "We have to go around and tell people, come and see Egypt with your own eyes ... We have a lot to offer."

Rashed faces an uphill battle. An EgyptAir plane crashed en route from Paris to Cairo in May, killing 66 people. The cause remains unknown. In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked by a man wearing a fake suicide belt. No one was hurt.

In addition, Egyptian warplanes fired on a group of picnicking tourists last year, thinking they were militants. Eight Mexicans and four Egyptians were killed.

The ban on flights by Britain and Russia to Sharm al-Sheikh has delayed recovery.

"We shouldn't be scared. We should ... show [terrorists] we have courage and confidence to move around."


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