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Egyptian tourism plunges 32 percent in 2011

The number of tourists who visited Egypt in 2011 was one-third less than in 2010, Egypt's Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Thursday.

Egyptian tourism plunges 32 percent in 2011

The number of tourists who visited Egypt in 2011 was one-third less than in 2010, Egypt’s Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Thursday. He said there were about 10 million tourists in 2011, around 32 percent less than in 2010.

Abdel Nour said the tourist sector brought in US$9 billion, 30 percent less than last year.

He called on the Central Bank to postpone the debts of the Tourism Ministry until next year.

However, Abdel Nour expressed optimism that the tourism industry in Egypt could recover quickly.

He said the government estimates that about 13.5 percent of the national income comes from the tourism sector. He added that tourism is the primary source of foreign exchange and that about 4 million people work in the sector.

The Egyptian government says that the state of uncertainty that has prevailed following the 25 January revolution, as well as periodic outbreaks of violence over the past year, have discouraged tourists from visiting the country.