CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has issued executive orders to form a high-level ministerial committee tasked with developing a comprehensive plan to resolve obstacles facing Egypt’s tourism sector, according to a presidential statement Thursday.
The move followed Sisi’s Tuesday meeting with a group of over 15 board chairs and representatives from leading international travel agencies and Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou.
The ministerial committee—slated to include the ministers of tourism, transportation, civil aviation, antiquities and culture—“will be tasked with identifying and subsequently addressing problems facing the industry so that the country regains its position as a principle destination on the international tourism map and the sector returns as a main contributor of Egypt’s national income,” according to the statement.
According to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, tourism revenues represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s GDP.
The statement said the committee will be tasked with issuing legislation that aims to simplify laws, rules and regulations for foreign investors looking to start tourism projects. It will also be responsible for stepping up security and providing a safe environment for tourists.
“The president added that Egypt will issue a unified investment law to eliminate bureaucratic hurdles and attract more tourism investments. The State also intends to establish an international trade city in the Gulf of Suez region, excavating new historical sites and formulating plans for the development of the northwest coast,” the statement read.
“Sisi will share with tour operators the country’s plan to transform Egypt back into a desired tourist destination, like before 2011,” Zaazou was quoted as saying by Youm7 Thursday.
“These details include Egypt’s Charter Incentive Program and public relations plans,” he added.
In 2010, Egypt had its highest number of tourists on record at 14.7 million. In 2013 however, only 9.5 million holidaymakers came, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Egypt has suffered successive low tourist turnout since the January 25 Revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.