CAIRO: A marathon to promote tourism kicked off Wednesday morning in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Aswan where students from 21 universities across the country participated, Youm7 reported.
Organized in cooperation with ministries of higher education and youth and sports, the 2-mile long marathon was inaugurated by Egypt’s Higher Education Minister Ashraf el-Shehy.
Aswan governor Magdy Hegazy gave the start signal of the marathon; He stressed that the event aims to send a message to the world that Aswan is safe, according to Youm7.
The event is a bid to revive Egypt’s flagging tourism sector that represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP and has been hit badly since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
The occupancy rate at Luxor and Aswan hotels increased to 65 percent during the first week of mid-school year vacation, the chief of the tourism and antiquities police Hosny Hussein told Youm7 last week.
Following a Russian plane crash that killed 224 passengers and crew late October, Germany, Russia, France and the UK evacuated their tourists from the resort town and suspended flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh after reports that a bomb may have been the cause.
However, Egypt says that an investigation into the incident has not yet determined the causes of the crash.
The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped by 15 percent in 2015, registering only $6.1 billion, down from $7.4 billion in 2014, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said in a news conference in January.