Egypt to attract 20 pct more tourists this year: minister

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By Matt Smith

DUBAI  – Egypt will attract about 20 percent more visitors this year compared 2014, the minister said on Monday, as the holiday sector recovers after four years of political upheaval, violence and street protests.

About 2.15 million tourists visited the country the first quarter, up 6.9 percent a year ago, Khaled Ramy said. Advance bookings indicate the full-year would be around 12 million, below 2010’s peak of 14.7 million but above 2014’s 9.9 million.

the next four-and-a-half years we have increase by double-digit (percentages) every year,” the minister said.

Egypt’s revenue reached a peak at $12.5 billion a year 2010, but was less half 2013 as turmoil the run up the ’s toppling of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi deterred visitors.

Revenue last year was $7.3 billion, Ramy told a news in Dubai. “We would like reach $26 billion by 2020,” he said.

The number of forward bookings for this summer and winter are 15-20 percent higher a year ago and visitor numbers in the first weeks of April rose 19 percent year-on-year, he said.

“By 2016 we will maybe surpass the levels of 2010,” said Ramy, who has struck a more upbeat tone since succeeding Hisham Zaazou in early March. month, Zaazou warned Egyptian would not fully recover by the end of 2015.

Ramy said the tourism sector was also seeking to appeal to a younger market.