CAIRO: Tourism Ministry decided to reduce the number of Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA)’s offices abroad in order to rationalize the government spending, according to Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, Youm7 reported Saturday.
The decision complies with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s serious austerity measures, including subsidy reduction, to reform Egypt’s deteriorating economy during the past 3 years.
During his meeting with TPA’s employees Thursday, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou revealed his plan to “restructure” the authority to make the best use of it by either closing its offices in countries of low numbers of travelers to Egypt or combining two offices, within one country or region, into one office.
“TPA’s offices in some countries such as Finland, Croatia and Sweden are most likely to be closed due to the low numbers of travelers from those countries to Egypt,” said Zaazou.
He pointed out that the authority’s two offices in the U.S.A will be combined together in one office in New York.
According to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, tourist activity comprises 11.3% of Egypt’s GDP.
It also represents an important source of foreign currency entering the Egyptian economy, alongside revenues from the Suez Canal and remittances of Egyptians living abroad, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.
The TPA, founded in 1970s, is a governmental body tasked with promoting tourism in Egypt through more than eighty five offices all over the globe.
Ambassador Nasser Hamdy, who was the Chairman of the board of the TPA since November 2012 has resigned in May and his post is still vacant, according to Al-Ahram.
During the past few weeks, Zaazou has interviewed seven candidates to fill the vacant post and the new chairman is expected to be revealed by the end of July, head of the TPA’s international tourism sector Ahmed Shoukry told The Cairo Post Saturday.
Tourism sector has received several blows since the political uprisings in 2011.
According to the National Accounts Division of the Ministry of Tourism, income from tourism in Egypt for the first quarter of 2014 decreased to $1.3bn, down 43% from the same period last year.
The deficit in Egypt’s general budget for the 2014/15 fiscal year is expected to reach 240 billion EGP ($34.2) representing 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the country’s finance minister, Hany Kadry.