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Egypt draws more Chinese after Xi's visit

Updated: 2016-02-27 07:56:36

( China Daily )

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An Egyptian troupe performs at the National Center of the Performing Arts in Beijing on Wednesday to celebrate the 2016 China-Egypt Culture Year, showing Egypt's cultural attractions to the Chinese people. Mai Tian / for China Daily

An increasing number of Chinese tourists are flocking to Egypt since Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent state visit, providing a boost to the Middle Eastern country's tourism industry, a senior Egyptian official said.

Xi's visit to Cairo and the ancient southern city of Luxor last month has boosted the interest of the Chinese in Egypt's tourism sites, even without additional promotion by the Egyptian side, Egypt's Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"Right after Xi's visit, we saw a 35 percent increase in tourists from China," he said.

"We were very happy with the Chinese president's visit to Egypt, which had a wonderful effect."

The culturally rich and populous Arab country is now pinning a lot of hope on China and is eager to tap the Chinese tourism market, which Zaazou said is one of the most important markets for Egypt's tourism industry.

"The number of Chinese visitors increased from 65,000 to 135,000 in 2015," Zaazou said, adding that he believes the number could touch between half a million and a million in a short span of time once there are sufficient flights from China to Egypt.

Noting that the two countries had agreed to arrange 20 flights between the two countries per week - 10 by Egyptian carriers and 10 by Chinese ones - he said Cairo is expecting even more flights to meet the growing demand.

Meanwhile, in view of the increasing interest of the Chinese public in Egypt's ancient civilization, the Beijing office of the Egyptian Tourism Ministry has asked its headquarters to increase its funding to promote tourism in China, Zaazou said.

"We will respond to this immediately," the minister said, adding that talks are underway between the two countries to further boost the aviation transport capacity in order to fly a rising number of Chinese tourists.

Tourism, which employs about 4 million people in Egypt, is one of the main sources of income for the country. Egypt's tourism sector has been suffering a recession over the past few years due to political turmoil in the country.

On Tuesday, Egypt's tourism ministry launched a campaign to promote tourism in Egypt in 2016 and beyond with a focus on security. To that end, Egypt hired a global risk and strategic consulting firm in late 2015 to improve its airport security.

According to Zaazou, the country will soon set up a security company through which government institutions collaborate with the private sector.

"The security company will start with airports and will expand its work to cover major historical sites to enforce the security procedures of the Interior Ministry," Zaazou said.

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