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The Egyptian Minister of Tourism: "I invite our Russian friends to come to visit us again and again."

1-10-2013, 18:48

Photo by the author

 

During an official visit to Moscow, the Egyptian Minister of Tourism of the Egyptian Arab Republic, Hisham Zaazou, despite a busy work schedule, kindly agreed to answer questions put to him by an observer from   “International Affairs" magazine.

“Mr. Zaazou, what is the purpose of your visit to Moscow?”

“Regarding the purposes of my trip to Russia, I can say there are two main ones.”

“Firstly, our participation in the International Tourism Fair, which is currently taking place in Moscow. It is important for Egypt to attend every tourism fair in Russia.”

“As you are aware, Russia is a very important market for us.”

“I want to emphasize the great importance of Russian tourism to Egypt. Egyptians are well disposed to Russian tourists. Millions of people come to us from your country every year, and it contributes towards the development of good relations between our two countries, relations that have been established for many, many years. We appreciate the value of these relations, especially in present times.”

“In 2010, on the eve of the revolution, the number of Russian tourists had reached nearly 3 million a year! To be totally accurate, 2.8 million Russians vacationed in Egypt at the time.”

“Last year, which frankly, was not very good, 2.5 million tourists from Russia vacationed with us.”

“So it is very important for us to always be in contact with our partners and friends in Russia and maintain the level of tourism from Russia.”

“This is my primary challenge in coming to Moscow.”

“The second challenge is this: to meet with tour operators, the major players in this market, and to listen to their views on how we should prepare for the immediate future.”

“As far as I know, you have already met with Sergei Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia.”

“Yes, I must emphasize that I had a very important meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia with Minister Lavrov, to discuss with him the future of our relations in the tourism field and to learn his approach to the possible revision of the position of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding that tourist travel to Egypt is not recommended at this time.”

“I believe that we had a good meeting with Mr. Lavrov - I understand his views. We will work together to achieve the best results in order to develop relations between Egypt and Russia in the field of tourism.”

“I can say that my impressions of my stay in Moscow are good, and I feel great deal of satisfaction. I am very pleased with the contacts at the political level and at the business level.”

“How would you describe the current situation in Egypt?”

“Talking about the current situation in Egypt, I can say that things are much better than in the more recent past.”

“As you know, on June 30th Egyptians took to the streets demanding change, with the slogan: "We do not want to wait another four years!” (Meaning that the next presidential elections in Egypt, were not to be held for another four years, and the people did not want to see President Morsi in power for so long - SF ).

“The former regime, the" Muslim Brotherhood” is responsible for the fact that the country was not able to move in the right direction. Egypt, after all, is a more cosmopolitan, open country, and we love it that people from all over the world come to visit us.”

“The Egyptian people believed that it was not the right government to govern the country. So, the people made their decision.”

“Perhaps this created some problems immediately after these events. But now everything is under control. The level of security in the country is much higher.”

“I am confident in Egypt’s future, and it will get even better in just a matter of weeks or months.”

“Is Egypt now safe for tourism?”

“Yes, you can come to us without any fear. There are no problems in the tourist areas. None of the struggles or demonstrations are directed against tourists. It never was before, and it is not so now. And even despite the unrest, the security level has increased significantly, especially in those areas where the tourists are based. “

“We believe that people can come to Egypt and enjoy their vacation in safety.”

“What would you like to say to our readers?”

“I would like to say to your Russian readers, the people of Russia who want to go to Egypt as tourists, come to Egypt!"

“If you have already been to Egypt, then you will experience the same true pleasure, just as before.”

“And if you have not visited yet, come and you will have a new experience, you'll see something new. You will feel that the Egyptian people are sincerely waiting to welcome you!”

“Also, I want to tell Russian tourists that we are opening up new itineraries. For example, to the places that Jesus Christ and his holy family visited during their three year stay in Egypt. I am sure it will be very interesting!”

“We welcome young people to have an opportunity to show them our famous monuments, so that they can make direct contact with our history, and take cruises on the Nile.”

“All of these are the new products of our tourism industry. I invite our Russian friends to come to us again and again, because each visit they will see something new for themselves.”

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