Egypt boosted by Saudi Arabian arrivals

Egyptian Tourism is set for its best-ever summer thanks to record numbers of Saudi Arabian tourists.

Tourism figures from the GCC have already shot up 40 per cent in the past year - and most of that growth has been spearheaded by the 361,000 visitors from the Kingdom during 2005. During January to April 2006, more than 80,375 Saudis visited Egypt.

Long considered by many throughout the Gulf region as a home away from home, Egypt has traditionally appealed to Arab travellers for its cool summers, exciting entertainment venues and familiar cosmopolitan atmosphere.

“Egypt’s familiarity helps to make it especially hospitable for Arabs, many of whom seek the comfort of an Arabic-language setting. World-class hotels, year-round entertainment venues, quality shopping, and leisure resorts inspire our neighbours in Saudi Arabia to choose Egypt more and more as their holiday destination regardless of the season or the length of their stay,” said H.E. Zoheir Garannah, Egyptian Minister of Tourism.

Where Cairo and Alexandria had been and remain key destinations, Arab travellers now enjoy a wide variety of luxury resorts outside of the metropolitan centres, scattered along the Red Sea and the North Coast.

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Traditional Egyptian hospitality combined with this diversity of modern infrastructure and locale may be the cause of this shift to year-round tourism from GCC markets, according to government officials.

“Egypt has undergone a renaissance in the tourism sector,” said Ahmed El Khadem, Chairman of the Egyptian Tourist Authority.

“Record-breaking numbers of tourists from the Arab World, particularly from GCC countries, are now visiting us. The construction of new airports on the North Coast and the Red Sea, serviced by direct flights to and from a number of Gulf States, is helping drive the growth in Arab tourism.

Egypt’s close proximity also appeals to Arab travellers, allowing for an affordable and convenient weekend excursion.

“Arabs are opting increasingly to visit Egypt over European destinations,” added H.E. Garannah.  “Egypt’s modern amenities, including luxury hotels and high-end retailers, as well as its Arabic-language culture, make it a comfortable weekend escape for our neighbours from the Gulf.”

With an ever-increasing tourist population and government initiatives to promote development in the tourist sector, Egypt is positioned to sustain further a variety of year-round opportunities for its Arab visitors.
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