Salafi Al-Nour Party announced a new initiative on Tuesday called Know Egypt, aiming to enhance the tourism sector.
Before the announcement Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaa’zoo’ speaking on Al-Sha’ab Yoreed TV show, said the ministry had initiated dialogue with Islamist parties, in an attempt to enhance tourism in Egypt
Zaa’zoo’ said Islamist parties recognise the value of tourism and of foreigners making use of Egyptian beaches, but he added that the ministry might build separate hotels for men and others for women.
The Salafi initiative aims to encourage new tourism sectors in Egypt such as agricultural tourism and medical tourism.
Nader Bakkar, spokesperson of Al-Nour Party, said the initiative aims to encourage people to visit Egypt’s different touristic sites during the upcoming mid-year vacation. He added that the government is responsible for facilitating the procedures and decreasing prices of tourism-related activities.
On the contradiction between the party’s ideology and some touristic activities perceived as western, Bakkar said his party understands Egypt’s situation, saying that the party has been around for more than a year and has not negatively targeted tourism.
Bakkar said: “The government should be independent of any partisan agenda and its loyalty should be only to Egypt and Egyptians.”
Bakkar called on the minister of tourism, minister of antiquities and the minister of civil aviation to decrease the price of services to encourage Egyptians to travel around Egypt to visit touristic sites.
“Decreasing the airfare of local flights would benefit both the citizens and Egyptair, and this would eventually increase revenues from the tourism sector.”
He added that new airlines should join the Egyptian market, saying that it would lead to the creation of a competitive environment, benefitting citizens in terms of price and quality of services.
Speaking at a press conference, the spokesperson called on all political parties to support the initiative, saying it is time to refrain from polarised political speeches and focus on national interest of Egypt.
When asked about the upcoming parliamentary elections, Bakkar asserted that his party received several coalition offers from Islamist and non-Islamist parties, adding that the final decision regarding coalitions would be taken during the week: “However, most probably we will be running for parliamentary elections independently, and we have the capabilities to do that.”
Amr Farouk, secretary of foreign relations in the party, said the tourism initiative was initially launched in Aswan a few months ago, but not under the name of Al-Nour Party. Farouk said the initiative is now under the party name as it now has an organisational structure and clear set of goals.
On the mass protests scheduled for 25 January, Bakkar said his party will not participate : “We are participating in the national dialogue sessions as we believe that dialogue is the only way to solve our disagreements. But still, we affirm the right of every citizen to protest, as long as the protest is peaceful.”