Egyptian minister announces webcams at tourist sites

Live-streaming to show safe conditions, 'bikinis welcome'

15 February, 12:50

(ANSAmed) - MILAN, FEBRUARY 15 - The Egyptian tourism minister told a conference in Milan Thursday evening that live webcams will be placed in the country's major tourist destinations to show the world the true conditions of the country.

Live-streamed surveillance of Luxor, Aswan, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Mars Alam will reveal to anyone connected to the Internet how tourists are spending their vacations in the land of the pharaohs.

''Egypt is a safe country,'' Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou repeated several times to a packed press conference Thursday evening at the BIT tourism trade fair in Milan. ''One can not reduce a country extending millions of square metres into a few hundred square meters,'' he added, making reference to Tahrir or ''Martyr'' Square in downtown Cairo.

And although the Salafites are boycotting Valentine's Day as a ''Western, 'Christian' tradition that goes against Sharia law'' Zaazou sought to reassure the Italian market. ''Bikinis are welcome, and no restrictions exist of any type,'' he guaranteed.

''I am a technocrat and I do not belong to any political party. But I assure you that everyone in Egypt is very clear on the importance of the tourism industry, the only one able to function at the moment.'' ''This government and the president himself are firmly convinced of the fact that the path to take is openness and development in the sector,'' Zaazou said, adding that tourism employs four million people in Egypt. No administration ''can change this trend - I guarantee it,'' said Zaazou.

Zaazou thanked Italian tourism operators who continued to support Egypt over the last two years.

Zaazou reported that despite Egypt's political crisis, which hit the entire Egyptian tourism industry, there were 700,000 visitors from Italy in 2012. ''We expect to reach 1,000,000 Italian tourists'' this year, added Zaazou.

But if many of the beach locations are more-or-less managing, archeological sites continue to suffer, he said. ''At Luxor and Aswan, operators are suffering a lot,'' Zaazou confirmed.

Things may improve substantially thanks to a decision adopted by the Italian national tour operators' association FIAVET to hold its annual conference this April in Luxor.

''To calm Italian tourists and travel agents, we are going to a safe country,'' affirmed FIAVET President Fortunato Giovannoni.

Zaazou also asserted that, in addition to continued development of the Red Sea, the Mediterranean coast must also grow.

''Our intention is to increase domestic air transport to allow vacationers to more easily reach archeological pearls like Luxor from beach locations like Mars Alam. We'll do so by opening flight connections,'' Zaazou said.(ANSAmed).

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