CAIRO: Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou has called on Italian tour operators to resume operations to Cairo and Upper Egypt, Deputy Tourism Minister for Marketing Affairs Sameh Saad told The Cairo Post Friday.
Zaazou is currently participating in the 51st edition of the TTG Incontri travel fair, which takes place from Oct. 9-12 in the Italian city of Rimini.
“I would like to tell you and the whole world that Egypt is safe now. The safety of tourists is ensured by unprecedented security measures in the archaeological sites and hotels in Cairo and Upper Egypt,” Zaazou was quoted as saying by Al-Ahram Friday.
“I’m sensing a recovery in cultural tourism coinciding with Egypt’s high season. Thousands of European and North American tourists are currently visiting Egypt,” Zaazou added.
As for the TTG Incontri participation, Saad said Egypt for the first time was chosen to be the partner state in Italy’s most comprehensive event for tourism.
“Italy is among the top five tourism markets of Egypt and accounts for over 20 percent of the European tourism market,” he added.
During his three-day visit to Italy, Zaazou held meetings with several Italian tour operators and airline companies to discuss joint cooperation with the purpose of restoring tourist travel from the Italian market, Saad said.
Over the past few months and due to a slight improvement in Egypt’s security status, many European countries have begun lifting travel bans to parts of Egypt. Many have lifted their travel ban to the Sinai, but still impose it on Cairo and Upper Egypt.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, travel advisories issued for the Sinai Peninsula caused tourism revenues to decrease in the first quarter of 2014 to $1.3 billion, down 43 percent from the same period in 2013.
Italian tourist arrivals fell from 848,000 in 2010 to 458,000 in 2011, and edged up to 570,000 in 2012, according to the Ministry of Tourism. Italian tourism figures for 2013 were not available, but are presumed to be dire due to travel bans and unrest following the events of June 30, 2013.