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Tourism minister allocates of $10 mn to promote Sharm El-Sheikh

In further efforts aiming to boost Egypt’s long ailing tourism industry, Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashed ordered the allocation of $10 million to implement a tourism promotion campaign for Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh.

“The [Tourism Development Authority] will work on developing a vision and identifying the target markets and mechanisms of the campaign, in coordination with Sharm El-Sheikh investors as soon as possible,” Hesham El Demery, acting chief of the Tourism Development Authority said on Saturday.

He added that the campaign is scheduled to last for six months since the date of its commencement.

Earlier this week, El-Demery said that Egypt would see a “significant increase” in the number of tourists starting this winter.

Previous campaigns played a great role in improving the image of Egypt abroad, leading to the recent lifting of the flight bans imposed by many of the main European markets for tourism to Sharm El-Sheikh, which was hit hard after the crash of a Russian passenger flight in Sinai in October 2015, El-Demery said.

The latest promotional tourism campaign, which was launched in September in 2016 in 11 countries and is still ongoing, “has extensively improved tourism,” El-Demery said, adding that $19 million were spent on the campaign in 2016, while in 2017 $9 million have been spent so far.

Arrivals from Ukraine and Poland more than doubled in 2017 compared to last year; while German arrivals increased by 50% year-on-year; Italian visitors by 30 percent; and British tourists by 20 percent, a statement from the tourism promotion authority said.

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Earlier in June, a number of tourism sector representatives, including the Chairman of the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association Kamel Abu Ali, submitted their resignation to the Supreme Tourism Council, in protest over what they see as the sector’s lack of a clear vision to save the country’s ailing tourism industry.

“It’s not about Russia or Britain anymore. The sector is in need of structural reform and communication. The Minister has to find ways to collaborate with all the sector’s entities to be able to successfully attract investors and target the problems mentioned,” Abu Ali previously told Egypt Independent.

Last week, representatives from the tourism sector met to discuss the condition of Egypt’s tourism in recent months. The meeting brought together all sector stakeholders, including foreign tourism agencies, hotels, religious tourism, tourism establishments and diving,

Following the meeting, they released a statement which called for the sacking of Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Yehia Rashedm as they claimed that Rashed’s policies are the reasons behind Egypt’s tourism being in a “poor condition”.

Egypt said earlier this year it was confident that it could lure back millions of foreign visitors after the sector was heavily hit. Tourism revenues dropped to $3.4 billion in 2016, a 44.3 percent decline from the previous year.

The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the first quarter of 2017 rose by 51 percent compared to the same period last year.

Egypt aims to attract 12 million tourists by the end of 2017 through a plan that includes increasing the international presence of national carrier EgyptAir, tourism minister Yehia Rashed said in an interview with Reuters last year.

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