CAIRO: In an indication of renewed European interest in Egypt as a tourist destination, TUI Travel, one of the leading tour operators in Europe, has chose Luxor to hold the launch conference of its 2015 summer program brochure, Youm7 reported Friday.
The event took place Friday at the foot of the Queen Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank of Luxor, and was attended by Antiquities Minister Hisham Zaazou, TUI CEO Christian Clemens, Egyptian Ambassador to Germany Mohamed Hegazy, officials from the Tourism Ministry and over 150 German media members.
The conference came a day after Egypt’s participation in the World Travel Market (WTM) held in London from Nov. 3-6, and in which Zaazou met with global tour operators.
“TUI international accounts for 20 percent of Egypt’s inbound tourism,” said Zaazou at Friday’s event. He also said there had been a notable increase in the number of German tourists following the annual Quality Tourism Alliance (QTA), Germany’s biggest tourism fair, held in Luxor on Oct. 17.
Indicating that Germany is the second biggest source of Egypt’s inbound tourism after the U.K., Zaazou said: “The increasing number of German tourists to Egypt reflects the German people’s interest in Egyptian heritage and history, and represents an implicit recognition that Egypt is a safe destination.”
For his part, Clemens expressed the company’s interest in resuming its trips to Egypt amid an improvement in Egypt’s security status.
“German holidaymakers will return to Egypt especially now that the winter season is beginning,” Clemens said.
Accounting for around 11 percent of Egypt’s GDP, tourism is a vital source to the country’s economy. Egypt is a popular destination during the European winter, especially with British, Russian and German travelers seeking sunshine.
Also, during the conference, Zaazou announced the launch of a new air route between Luxor and Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam that, according to him, will boost tourism in Upper Egypt.
He also announced that TUI International is mulling the launch of a new air route between Manchester in the U.K. and Luxor to be established by October 2015.
Tourism revenues in Egypt tumbled to $1.67 billion in the second quarter of 2014, a decline of $663 million from 2013, according to Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) figures released in September.