Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has asserted the need for tourism traffic to resume in Egypt, while adhering to the appropriate health and safety controls.
Al-Sisi’s remarks came as he received, on Monday, the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) General Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili.
The President expressed his appreciation for the UNWTO’s support for international and regional tourism, and the organisation’s current efforts to restore tourism traffic worldwide. Tourism both in Egypt and around the world has been one of the sectors worst hit by the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Al-Sisi pointed out that Egypt aims to resume tourism traffic under the appropriate health controls and precautionary measures. The countrywide move is aimed at achieving a balance between gradually reopening the country, including tourism, to coexist with the virus, and ensuring the health and safety of tourists and the sector’s workers.
Meanwhile, Pololikashvili praised the Egyptian efforts to gradually reboot its foreign tourism, as well as the unprecedented support provided by the Egyptian state to the country’s tourism sector. He noted that tourism is one of the Egyptian economy’s vital pillars.
He explained that the state’s support of the tourism sector was evident during the pandemic. He pointed to the government’s provision of a number of grants, incentives and facilities to help tourism investors deal with the repercussions of the crisis.
Pololikashvili also expressed the UNWTO’s aspiration to enhance its cooperation with Egypt, to benefit from the models Egypt offers in developing the tourism system through institutional reform at all levels.
He said that Egypt has proven its uniqueness by merging the formerly separate Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities into a unified entity. The move has helped the government ensure optimal use of the country’s various tourism destinations and to increase their level of competitiveness.
On Monday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also met with Pololikashvili. Madbouly expressed his happiness that Egypt was the first country outside Europe to be visited by the UNWTO Secretary-General since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the meeting, Madbouly asserted that Egypt was among the first countries to have implemented preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus. He pointed to the government having adopted policies based on creating a precise balance between public health requirements, and those needed to continue economic activities.
The Prime Minister added that the timing of the pandemic was unfortunate, due to its having come at the same time as Egypt’s tourism industry achieving unprecedented figures. He added that, following the pandemic, Egypt’s tourism will take some time until regaining this momentum again.
Moreover, Pololikashvili praised the strict application of precautionary measures he witness at the airports, hotels and tourism sites he visited in Egypt. He stressed that the precautionary measures Egypt has applied in those places exceed those applied by some other countries.
Pololikashvili also praised Egypt’s gradual opening measures in the tourism sector, taking into consideration the current global situation, and noted his optimism about the status of the country’s tourism sector.
During the meeting between Madbouly and Pololikashvili, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anani reviewed Egypt’s tourism movement since the gradual opening. He announced that the three governorates of South Sinai, the Red Sea, and Matrouh have received about 126,000 tourists, among whom there was only one suspected COVID-19 case.