Hisham Zaazou, Egypt’s tourism minister, has said that visitors to the country looking to drink and wear bikinis are welcome in Egypt. His announcement follows Muslim groups in the country calling for a ban to be imposed on both alcohol and revealing swimwear.
THe country has been declared open to those on holidays in Egypt who wish to wear bikinis and drink alcohol by the minister in a bid to help boost tourist numbers, which have suffered in recent years. "Bikinis are welcome in Egypt and booze is still being served," said Zaazou during a visit to the UAE.
“We had talks with these Salafi groups and now they understand the importance of the tourism sector, but still you have some individuals that are not from the leadership saying these things,” added Zaazou, who is not a member of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
Tourism in Egypt has suffered significantly since the Arab Spring revolution in 2011, which sparked riots and unrest in the country. In 2010, the year before the uprising, tourism generated $12.5 billion in revenue for Egypt with 14.7 million tourists visiting the country. Just a year later in 2011 tourist arrivals plummeted to 9.7 million, producing a much smaller revenue of $8.8 million.
In order to restore Egypt’s tourism sector the tourism minister has set out a series of plans to help the country hit its target of a 20 per cent increase in visitor numbers. Across Egypt cameras have been installed in major resorts which feed live video onto Tourism Egypt’s website.
"We want to show people that Egypt is safe, and the best way to show this is by live streaming. The next step will be to have these images shown on big screens in public squares in Paris or New York," explained the minister.
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