Tourism Officials Reassure Travellers About Egypt's Reputation as a Holiday Destination
Egyptian tourism authorities have begun infusing confidence among travellers about the future of the country as a holiday destination.
Extremists within the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which possesses a parliamentary majority and has strong links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, have demanded a ban on the sale of alcohol across the country, while calls have also been made for Egypt's beaches to be segregated by sex and for revealing swimwear to be outlawed.
Last week Mohamed Morsi FJP received a quarter of the votes in the country's first presidential elections since the overthrow of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and a run-off for the presidency between Morsi and Ahmed Shafik, who was a prime minister under Mubarak, is due to take place on June 16 and 17.t is now feared that the election of Morsi could see such policies put in place, but representatives from the country's tourism industry said any changes would face strong opposition.
"These calls are just rhetoric, it is an attempt to win votes. These people can say and promise what they want but they will not deliver anything," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Omayma El Husseini, Director of the Egyptian Tourist Office, as saying.
She added that economic concerns would make such changes disastrous and suggested that an "intellectual conflict" was developing in the country.Tourism is very important to Egypt - it is the second highest contributor to GDP," she said. "The tourism industry and the liberal Muslims in Egypt will not let them screw it up."
At least one in 10 people in Egypt earn their living through tourism, and the country has already witnessed a sharp fall in visitors since the last year's revolution. According to official figures, foreign arrivals fell by around a quarter in 2011, compared with the previous year, and have fallen by a further 10 per cent so far in 2012.t is estimated that any restrictions on the sale of alcohol and sunbathing could have an even more dramatic impact, particularly in beach resorts of Egypt such as the Sharm El Sheikh.