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Egypt's tourism minister: Bikinis and Booze are welcomed in Egypt

May 7, 2013 at 11:13 AM   |   Comments

May 7 (UPI) -- Egypt's tourism minister claimed the Islamist-ruled country was open to bikini wearing, alcohol drinking tourists on Sunday as part of his plan to boost Egypt's tourism numbers.

The Brisbane times reports Hisgam Zaazou is looking to increase the country's tourism rate after it drastically declined when a popular uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

In 2010, before the uprising, Egypt received $12.5 billion in earnings from 14.7 million visitors, but in 2011 arrivals slowed to 9.8 million producing a revenue of $8.8 billion.

Zaazou's strategy looks to promote the idea that Egypt is safe and open for all kinds of visitors. During his visit to the United Arab Emirates he disparaged comments from radical Salafi Muslim groups who have called for a ban on alcohol and women wearing bathing suits.

"Bikinis are welcome in Egypt and booze is still being served," Zaazou, speaking in English, said in a news conference while visiting the UAE. "We had talks with these Salafi groups and now they understand the importance of the tourism sector, but still you have some individuals that are not from the leadership saying these things."

The minister said rebuilding Egypt's tourism was a national priority. To prove that his advances are true, Zaazou plans on installing cameras in the country's major resorts to live-stream the action for potential visitors.

"We want to show people that Egypt is safe, and the best way to show this is by live streaming. The next step will be to have these images shown on big screens in public squares in Paris or New York," he said.

Zaazou's plan aims to increase visitor numbers by 20 percent this year.

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