The United Nations World Tourism Organization has expressed "full confidence" in tourism recovering in Egypt. It also praised the tourism industry's efforts in ensuring that Egypt was a safe, attractive and leading travel destination for travellers from around the world.
Ever since the rise of the Arab Spring in early 2011, the UN agency has been saying tourism is the key to the economic recovery of the country. "If tourism recovers, Egypt will recover," the tourism body's secretary general, Taleb Rifai, reiterated during a recent visit to Egypt.
He called upon the international community to support tourism in the country that has a rich heritage of pharaohs and legacy of pyramids. "Supporting the recovery of tourism to Egypt is supporting the future of Egypt and that of its people; supporting tourism to Egypt is promoting peace and stability," Rifai said in a statement.
"We should never forget that Egypt is one of the world's most remarkable tourism success stories. Over the last decade, the number of visitors to Egypt practically tripled and so did the exports generated by international tourism. Egypt is, and will continue to be, despite all challenges, a leading tourism destination," he added.
Rifai was visiting the nation to discuss measures to accelerate the recovery of tourism in Egypt. He commended the country's political support to the sector to regain the confidence of tourists that is supposedly shaken by the uprising.
"Egypt has undertaken strong initiatives in terms of communications with the competent authorities and public opinion in source markets on safety and security issues, unlocking the support of airlines and tour operators, incentivising demand and engaging key players in Egypt in these concerted efforts," Rifai said. "I trust these actions will herald results in restoring confidence and accelerating the recovery of tourism to Egypt."
According to the organisation, there is a strong "pent-up demand" for tourism to Egypt, from source markets, both within and outside the region. Tourism is a critical contributor to the country's GDP, employment, foreign currency earnings and investment.
In an effort to attract tourists to newer experiences, three tombs of ancient Egyptian nobles were opened to the public for the first time in Luxor in November 2015. This was followed by opening of a first-of-its-kind museum, which showcases fossils of extinct whales, at the famed Valley of the Whales (Wadi Al-Hitan) in Fayoum, about 150km south-west of Cairo.