Joint Press Release
Cairo, Egypt /Madrid, Spain, 31 May 2011
As the leading foreign exchange earner and representing one in every seven jobs, tourism is a crucial factor in Egypt's economic recovery, stressed the Prime Minister of Egypt, Essam Sharaf, during an official visit of UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, and President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, David Scowsill, to the country (Cairo, Egypt, 29 May). Meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour, as well as other public and private tourism representatives, Mr. Rifai and Mr. Scowsill expressed the commitment of the international tourism community to support the sector as a key component of Egypt's transition.
Prime Minister Sharaf confirmed the strategic importance of tourism for the country's economic recovery and social stability, especially in the current transition period. "We appreciate your visit and support; tourism is a critical activity for Egypt," he said. "This is a time for action which will help us get through the current bottleneck; the more we do together, the better," he added.
"International tourists are slowly beginning to return to Egypt. The sector is a lifeline for our economy and in 2010 accounted for 11.5% of our GDP and US$ 13 billion in revenues. We count on UNWTO and WTTC for the right advice and support," said the Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour.
Mr. Rifai praised the high political support shown for tourism; the principal foreign exchange earner and a leading job creator in Egypt. "Tourism is clearly seen as a national priority involving all areas of public policy and thus can be a major contributor to consolidate the transition," he said. "Moreover, throughout my visit it has been very clear that the Egyptian tourism sector is fully operational and ready to receive visitors," he added.
Mr. Scowsill also highlighted the importance of close collaboration between global public and private tourism players, along with the need to clearly communicate the stability in the country. "Egyptian tourism has recovered quickly from setbacks in the past, and it is good to see that visitors are now coming back. Given the current difficulties in the region, it is important for the industry to get a clear message out that the new Egypt is stable and open for business," he said.
In his meetings with tourism stakeholders, Mr. Rifai underscored the importance of the backing of the international community to Egypt, both politically and financially, as witnessed by the recent announcements of the G8 and the World Bank to commit substantial funds for the country. "Egypt is not only the leading tourism destination in the region, but also a central piece for its political and economic stability," he said.
14 million international tourists visited Egypt in 2010, generating nearly US$13 billion in international tourism receipts. These receipts represent around 6% of the country's GDP and over 11% when the full sector is considered. International tourist arrivals saw a decline of 45%in the first quarter of 2011.
International Tourism: First results of 2011 confirm consolidation of growth: http://media.unwto.org/en/press-release/2011-05-11/international-tourism-first-results-2011-confirm-consolidation-growth
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO: www.UNWTO.org), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 154 countries, 7 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 400 Affiliate Members.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) was established in 1990 with Members representing the world's foremost leaders in the private sector of Travel & Tourism. It aims to promote the importance of the industry as a generator of economic growth, encourage public-private partnerships, and persuade governments to adopt policies that will allow the industry to thrive. WTTC's annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit brings together over 1,000 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the industry, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise the industry's power to be a positive force in sustainability.