Arabian Travel Market: Webcams are being set up at leading holiday destinations in Egypt by the ministry of tourism to ease concerns among potential visitors on safety.
Sneak holiday peek for Egyptian visitors
Egypt's ministry of tourism is setting up webcams at top holiday destinations to assure potential visitors that the country is safe.
"We will put up webcams in Sharm El Sheikh by the Red Sea, in South Sinai and in Cairo," said the tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou, while in Dubai for the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) trade show, which begins today. "The media has not been too kind to Egypt recently. We will use the internet to live stream to show that Egypt is safe and that people are coming and enjoying their time."
He added that, contrary to media portrayal, even Cairo enjoys a good degree of stability and unrest is generally limited to around Tahrir Square and the presidential palace.
Egypt enjoyed a bumper year for tourism in 2010 but the number of visitors plummeted by 32 per cent in 2011 on traveller concern about safety in the aftermath of the revolution that toppled the president Hosni Mubarak. Tourist revenue also fell 30 per cent that year.
Mr Zaazou expressed optimism that the industry was recovering. Last year, tourism numbers rose 17.4 per cent to 11.5 million visitors and revenue jumped 15 per cent, contributing US$10 billion to Egypt's economy, he said.
In the first quarter of this year, the number of visitors jumped 15 per cent to 2.87 million from a year earlier. The number of nights tourists spent in Egypt in the first quarter also rose, climbing 28 per cent to about 37 million nights from 29 million in the first quarter last year.
The minister also announced he was encouraging hotels to provide customised offers for Arab families during the summer, including the holy month of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, although he did not provide specific details.
"The Middle East market and the Gulf market is very important to us for tourists and investors in tourism," Mr Zaazou said. "I will be meeting with the movers and shakers in the public and private sector [at the ATM] to spell out our vision."
The number of Arab tourists visiting Egypt during the first quarter of this year was 520,353 compared with 483,834 tourists in the same period of 2012, an increase of 7.5 per cent.
The webcams will be up and running from July 1 on the tourism ministry's website.