Minister predicts surge in tourism revenues by the end of 2012
Egypt's tourism minister denies he will become vice-president
Egypt's tourism minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour has denied local media claims he will become the country's next vice-president, the London-based As-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.
Abdel-Nour, a Coptic Christian, became minister of tourism in February 2011 and briefly served in the government of Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister chosen by Egypt's ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt's head of state Mohamed Morsi has pledged several times to appoint a Christian to a senior post in his new government.
Speaking to the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Abdel-Nour said the election of Morsi, a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, should not give Egyptians cause for concern.
While some tourism industry figures have expressed fears that an Islamist-majority government might adversely impact their sector, Adel-Nour instead predicted enormous short-term growth.
An upswing in tourism over the coming six months will bring 2012's total tourism revenues to $25 billion, the minister claimed.
"I am sure of this," Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted him as saying.
In the past, Egypt's highest recorded annual tourism revenues were around $12 billion.