Ministerial committee considers new legislation to develop tourism sector
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7/Hossam Atef

CAIRO: The Ministerial Committee for Tourism headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met Sunday to discuss legislation aimed at boosting the tourism sector, Al-Mal business daily reported.

Particularly, they discussed the Ministry of Tourism’s five-year plan for developing the sector, legislation to allow more investment at tourism sites and developing the Sinai region, according to Minister of Tourism advisor Ibrahim El-Ashmawy.

Also on the table was a proposal to amend portions of the 2012 Law No. 14 to prevent foreigners from owning land in the Sinai and encourage Egyptian investment.

The ministry seeks through its 5-year plan to attract 30 million foreign tourists, achieve a 14-percent growth rate and gain $25 billion in revenues El-Ashmawy said. He went on to say that the Ministry of Tourism had hoped to achieve these goals by 2017, but the current state of instability derailed these plans.

El-Ashmawy also said the ministry seeks to increase tourism investments in the Sinai to $10 billion and target new tourism markets in the Persian Gulf and India. Over its 5-year plan, the Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation is set to establish a number of low price flights in order to attract more tourists and boost the tourism sector, he said.

Further, the Ministry of Tourism’s plans will establish a multilateral investment fund for completing suspended projects, starting new ones and attracting new investors, according to El-Ashmawy.

Since the 2011 January 25 Revolution, Egypt has seen a steep decline in tourism revenues. During 2013, the number of tourists declined by 17.9 percent to only 9.5 million tourists compared to 11.5 million tourists in 2012 according to Reuters, and 14.7 million tourists in 2010. Tourism revenues have also declined by 41percent, reaching only $5.9 billion in 2013 compared with $10 billion in 2012.

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