(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Arab tourist flow into Egypt has bounced back with bang in the first quarter with a 63 per cent surge in traffic after a slowdown in 2011 in the wake of Arab Spring. The number of Arab tourist jumped to 483,834 in 2012 first quarter compared to 296,980 tourists during the same period in 2011, Mounir Fakhry Abd ElNour, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, said in Dubai On Sunday.
ElNour, in Dubai to take part in Arab Travel Market, which is opening today, said the number of Emirati tourists also increased to 4,883 from 4,232 in the first quarter, up 15.4 per cent. The number of nights Emirati tourists spent at Egypt is approximately 61,000 nights compared to 57,000 nights of the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 6.4 per cent, he said.
"Egyptian tourism industry is witnessing a big revival and we target to attract 14.5 million tourist this year, which was the highest tourist traffic the country has recorded in 2010," the minister said.
Saudi tourists who visited Egypt during the first quarter of this year is 46,734 tourists compared to 32,718 tourists during the same period in 2011, which shows an increase of about 42.8 per cent. The number of nights Saudi tourists spent in Egypt is about 806,000 nights, compared to 460,000 nights in the first quarter of 2011, which again shows an increase of 75 per cent. There has also been an increased in the number of Kuwaiti tourists to 17,256 from 14,251 in the same 2011 period, he said.
ElNour said to boost the sector, the Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourist Authority, or ETA, will be participating in the ATM. "We aim to raise the level of tourism to those peaks traffic witnessed in 2010," he said.
As part of the strategy, Egypt has chalked out a plan to receive tourists throughout the year and to organise various artistic and cultural events and festivals across the tourist hot spots.
"During the coming months, we will focus our efforts on various global markets, particularly in the Arab region, where the traffic of Arab tourists during the first three months of this year has witnessed a growth of about 62.9 per cent compared with the overall rate of increase in visitors during the first quarter, which only amounted to 32 per cent," the minister said.