The meeting followed up on the official visit of Mr Rifai to Egypt last month, where he had the opportunity to meet President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to discuss the tourism situation in the country and the recovery plans being implemented.
Meeting with Minister Zaazou in Berlin, the UNWTO Secretary-General commended the measures taken by Egypt to restore market confidence and expressed the full support of the Organization to this programme.
“The work of the Ministry and of Minister Zaazou in promoting the highest political support for the sector, enhancing tourism safety and security by successfully integrating the sector into risk and emergency management structures both at national and local levels, and the various marketing initiatives taken in key markets are the correct ways to restore confidence and accelerate the recovery of tourism in Egypt”, said Mr Rifai.
“We should never forget that Egypt’s tourism sector is one of the world’s most remarkable success stories. In the last decade, the number of visitors to Egypt practically tripled and so did the exports generated by international tourism. Despite current challenges Egypt is today, and will continue to be, a world-leading tourism destination, capturing one in every four international tourist arrivals to the Middle East”, said Mr Rifai.
Mr Rifai and Minister Zaazou also discussed the actions that the Ministry has swiftly taken to communicate with competent authorities and the public in source markets on safety and security issues, to unlock the support of airlines and tour operators, to incentivise demand, and to engage key players in Egypt in these concerted efforts. UNWTO experts have visited Egypt in recent months to support the Ministry in these areas.
The meeting was also an occasion to further discuss the upcoming UNWTO City Tourism Summit being held later in 2016 in Cairo.
“We are holding this important event in Cairo as a clear sign of confidence in Egypt, and we trust that it will be a great opportunity to showcase all the progress and initiatives that Egypt has been implementing to accelerate recovery”, added Mr Rifai.