Egypt's revenue from tourism, the country's biggest source of income, rose by one billion dollars from July to September 2000 compared with the previous year, President Hosni Mubarak was quoted saying Saturday, March 24.
"Tourism figures are rising well, with an increase of one billion dollars in revenue registered in the first quarter of the budget year," Mubarak told the government daily Al-Ahram.
Mubarak did not say how much the revenues amounted to, but Egypt made $1.18 billion from tourism between July and September 1999, according to the available government figures.
"The government is continuing its efforts in this sector and I have ordered the prime minister to meet regularly with the Superior Council on Tourism to end all obstacles to the flow of tourism," Mubarak said.
He added that within the next 10 years Egypt was expected to have "40 airports serving all tourist regions of the country."
Egyptian aviation officials have recently announced that they will spend more than two billion dollars over the next four years to construct seven new airports and renovate 19 others.
Some 5.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2000 and the government has a target number of 10 million tourists for 2005.
The figures mark a rebound from a few years ago, when tourism sunk after Islamists killed 58 foreign tourists in November 1997 in Luxor.
It is still unclear whether tourism will be affected by two incidents in March: a disgruntled Luxor tour guide's three-day kidnapping of four German tourists and the stabbing of a Japanese woman at the pyramids in Giza.
The figures cited by Mubarak cover the period just before the start of the Palestinian uprising, which has crippled tourism in nearby Israel and the Palestinian territories. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )