Egyptian tourism trade at risk

Egypt's tourism minister has expressed concern that the Sharm al-Shaikh blasts will have a negative impact on tourism in the short term.

    The blasts may have a negative impact on Egypt's tourism

    The Egyptian economy is heavily dependent on tourism. Here are some figures relating to the industry:


    * Egypt's $6.6 billion tourism industry is based on Red Sea resorts such as Sharm al-Shaikh and on its pharaonic ruins. Tourism is a major source of revenue and employment.


    * Egypt received a record 8.1 million visitors in 2004. Tourist numbers grew in the first three months of 2005 compared to a year ago. Some analysts say Egypt attracted extra visitors this year after many avoided tsunami-hit Asia.


    * Egypt wants to double the annual number of visitors to 16 million by the mid-2010s, which will mean building about 12,000 to 14,000 new hotel rooms a year at an annual cost of about $1 billion.


    * Tourism, Egypt's biggest private sector employer, took years to recover from the 1997 attack on Luxor which killed 58 tourists, but the industry proved resilient after bombings in the Sinai peninsula last October that left 34 dead.


    * Egypt is a popular destination for Europeans, Israelis and Gulf Arabs, who account for most of the tourists during the hot summer months.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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