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Egypt welcomes 6,000 tourists after resuming flights

Passengers wearing protective face masks sit on a plane at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Egypt, June 20, 2020. (Reuters)
Passengers wearing protective face masks sit on a plane at Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Egypt, June 20, 2020. (Reuters)
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11 Jul 2020 01:07:05 GMT9
11 Jul 2020 01:07:05 GMT9

Laila Mohammed

CAIRO: Egypt received 6,000 tourists at the beginning of July after resuming flights that were previously suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said people from Switzerland, Ukraine and Belarus made up the greatest percentage of tourists in Egypt during this period.

It added that, as of Friday morning, not a single case of COVID-19 had been detected among the foreign visitors.

Suha Bahgat, a ministry spokeswoman, told Arab News that this was an indication the country was recovering and a sign of the gradual return of tourism to pre-pandemic days.

Bahgat said that the arrival of the number of tourists indicated their full trust in Egypt in terms of the precautionary measures taken by the government which had won the admiration of other countries.

She added that the country had made concerted efforts to restore the Egyptian tourism sector and was facilitating its return by implementing a set of precautionary measures and controls to improve Egypt’s image in foreign countries.

She was expecting that Egyptian tourism would gradually increase during the coming period “because the return of tourism is not just happening in Egypt, but in the whole world. It is also linked to the criteria set by the countries in which the tourists come from.”

Bahgat explained that it was necessary for tourists to adhere to the standards set by the government. The ministry’s website includes instructions and controls to maintain tourist safety as well as the safety of those in tourist destinations.

Tamer Makram, president of the South Sinai Investors Association, confirmed that the tourist groups arriving in Egypt at the beginning of the week had started to leave for their home countries without any positive coronavirus cases, neither among those departing nor those currently in the country who were “enjoying their vacation by the beaches of Egypt.”

Makram said the tourists expressed their enjoyment in Sharm El-Sheikh and singled out Egypt’s warm weather, open areas and the precautions set by the government as an ideal country for their tourist trips.

They said they would tell their friends and colleagues of the hotels’ commitment to the health and safety regulations announced by the government, according to Makram.

Egypt is working on restoring tourism in the country to how it was prior to the pandemic. Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani said that Egypt had shown flexibility in dealing with the crises the country had witnessed during the past two decades.

Al-Anani said that Europeans made up nearly 60 percent of Egypt’s tourism last year. “The Egyptian state is seeking to create new tourist destinations inside the country by expanding the establishment of archeological museums and establishing new cities such as El-Alamein, which is expected to be one of the most significant tourist destinations in Egypt in the coming years,” he said.

In 2019 Egypt received nearly 2 million tourists from Germany and 1.5 million tourists from Ukraine.

He announced that Egypt would launch a number of important archaeological projects that had been in the pipeline for years. Some projects were suspended but have resumed, “an indicator of the government’s interest in the tourism and antiquities sector as those projects represent a new addition to Egyptian tourist destinations,” he added.

On June 14 Egypt announced that it would reopen three governorates to tourism and international flights in July, including Red Sea resorts in Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh as well as Marsa Matrouh, which overlooks the Mediterranean.

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