New Egypt tourism minister sets out 2020 growth plan

Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:24am EDT
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By Stephen Kalin

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt hopes to generate $20 billion in revenue from tourism by 2020 by attracting 20 million visitors, new tourism minister Khaled Ramy said on Sunday at an international investment conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

An uprising that toppled leader Hosni Mubarak four years ago hit the economy hard, discouraging investors and tourists and slashing economic growth. Egypt hopes the conference will project an image of stability and help attract billions of dollars.

Ramy told Reuters that goal was part of strategic plans that include creating two new resorts through nearly $1 billion of investment over five years and hiring a private company to run a three-year advertising campaign.

He said he wanted to counteract the negative news of the last few years which has hampered tourism, a major source of revenue and foreign reserves for Egypt.

More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million in 2011. They rose the following year to 11.5 million but shrank back to about 10 million last year.

Ramy said he expected numbers to grow by 15 percent this year.

"The message is right on my face: it's seven o'clock in the morning and we already have this beautiful sunshine here in Sharm El-Sheikh," he said in a poolside interview at a luxury hotel.

Ramy, 56, was appointed minister this month in a cabinet reshuffle.   Continued...

Egyptian Tourism Minister Khaled Rami speaks during an interview with Reuters in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh