Cairo, Aug 25 (IANS) Egypt has received 126,000 tourists since it reopened its seaside resorts to foreign travellers on July 1, after a three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anany said.

Al-Anany’s comments came on Monday during a meeting in Cairo with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the visiting Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said this “great achievement” demonstrates the success and efficiency of the procedures introduced by his Ministry.

Madbouly said the virus hit the world at a time when Egypt’s tourism was breaking its own records in terms of the number of arriving tourists.

“It will take some time to pick up the same pace due to tourists’ reluctance to travel at the time being,” the premier said.

He stressed that Egypt’s policies target maintaining a balance between the requirements of health and the economy.

Egypt, which has so far registered 97,340 coronavirus cases and 5,262 deaths, resumed international flights in early July, after it lifted a partial curfew and reopened restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums and archaeological sites, all with limited capacity.

About 600 hotels nationwide were allowed to reopen, having met the safety protocols announced by the authorities and at a reduced occupancy of 50 per cent.

The North African country, which has been witnessing sharp decline in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths, also decided to reopen archaeological sites, hotels and museums in the monument-rich city of Luxor for tourists from September.

All travellers coming to Egypt will have to present a recent PCR test as of September 1.

Earlier on Monday, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Pololikashvili discussed the recent prominent tourism projects in Egypt amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Tourism is one of the main sources of national income and foreign currency in Egypt. The country’s tourism revenues hit a record high of $13 billion in 2019.

–IANS

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