Tourism Minister Says Booze and Bikinis are 'Welcome in Egypt'

In an effort to make Egypt more welcoming to tourists, tourism minister Hisham Zaazou said that bikinis and alcohol are welcome in the country. 

They are aiming to boost tourist numbers by a fifth this year. 

Tourism is one of the Egyptian economy's strengths, but has suffered after President Hosni Mubarak was asked to step down and rioting took place. 

Zaazou said they are being optimistic about the country's tourism pull, and said comments from Salafi Muslim groups about banning alcohol and bathing suits are nothing to worry about. 

"Bikinis are welcome in Egypt and booze is still being served," he said during a conference. 

"We had talks with these Salafi groups and now they understand the importance of the tourism sector, but still you have some individuals that are not from the leadership saying these things."

Before Mubarak took office, Egypt's tourist industry was at an all-time high. In 2010, 14.7 million visitors came and generated $12.5 billion in earnings. But they dropped  to 9.8 million visitors in 2011. 

Their goal is to hit 30 million tourists by 2022 with $25 billion in revenue.

One of Zaazou's plans is to show live feed of major resorts to people in other countries, tempting them to visit.

"We want to show people that Egypt is safe, and the best way to show this is by live streaming. The next step will be to have these images shown on big screens in public squares in Paris or New York," Zaazou said. 

"This is just a temporary halt, tourism will resume again and we are currently in talks with these groups who objected."

Sources: Web Pro News, Yahoo


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