Egypt’s hotels tackle harassment, try to boost tourism
I Saw Harassment logo - Photo courtesy of I Saw Harassment official Facebook page
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: Hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh will sign a protocol with I Saw Harassment April 13 to enhance tourism workers’ skills and counter sexual violence and harassment of tourists, according to a Thursday statement.

Under the protocol, members of I Saw Harassment will to launch awareness campaigns and field events in Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Ain Sokhna and Alexandria, the Facebook statement said.

The protocol follows the alleged rape of a British tourist in March in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh, prompting the Ministry of Tourism to shut down the hotel in question.

Tourism, one of Egypt’s most important sources of revenue, has been severely affected by the political turmoil in the country since the January 25 Revolution in 2011,  as well as the violence that has followed the forcible dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in August 2013, after which several European countries warned against travelling to Egypt.

In another Thursday meeting the Minister of Manpower Nahed Ashry and Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou discussed means to implement another protocol to promote tourism, reported Youm7.

The protocol would be signed by the Egypt Hotel Association and the Emergency Subsidies Fund, which belongs to the Ministry of Manpower, in an attempt for various parties to come together to support tourism, Ashry said in a statement.

After the majority of travel bans to Egypt were lifted by early 2014, Germany warned against travelling to Egypt again late February after a tourist bus was bombed in Taba, the northernmost resort city in South Sinai and the closest border point to Israel, killing three Koreans and an Egyptian.

One hundred representatives of German travel agencies attended a conference in Hurghada on April 7, where Zaazou called on Germany to lift its travel ban, and announced that his ministry will directly contact the agencies for “promotions and packages,” reported Youm7.

He called on German tourist agencies to report the “real picture” of course of events in Egypt, adding that Egypt would welcome security experts to check the security conditions in Egyptian tourist destinations.

In 2010, 24.7 million tourists visited Egypt, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

The number of tourists decreased by 27 percent from February 2013 at 844,760 tourists, to February 2014 at 616, 933 tourists, according to CAPMAS. The year also witnessed a 16 percent decrease in hotel occupancy.

Tourists in Egypt come primarily from Russia, Germany, England, Italy and France, according to the official State Information Service website.

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