(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Restoring stability across Egypt is vital for all businesses to flourish anew, and most specifically the tourism sector with sub-sectors such as restaurants and hotels, and the trickle of tourist at present is not sustaining business prosperity, said restauranteurs to KUNA, Thursday.
Business owners interviewed by KUNA agreed on the need to restore order and stability if the economy is to recover, and also appreciated efforts by the government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzoury and by the Ministry of Interior and Minister of Tourism to assure tourists, both Arabs and foreigners, they can visit the country without great risk.
The restauranteurs meanwhile demanded Egyptian media, too, focuses on improving conditions to dispel fears of perspective tourists so that the sector may recover sooner than later.
General Manager of Dar Al-Qamar restaurants, owned by the Saleh and Yagoub Al-Humaizi Company, said "things are quiet now and there is no cause for fear.
" Jamal Shukr added the sector appreciates the efforts of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to drive this message home among perspective visitors of the country.
The businessman had sharp criticism of the local media. It gave too much attention and even exaggerated in reporting thefts, beatings, violence, and killings, "which happen anywhere in the world all the time." It is now time, he said, for "a new media strategy that does not impede the state's economic recovery by disadvantageous reporting." Shukr pointed out there was an expected drop in activity in restaurants overlooking the Nile in particular after the January 25 revolution, a natural result of the drop in number of Arab tourists to record lows. Restaurants are now working at 30 percent capacity only, a drop from a full 100 percent.
Some businesses had to resort to relieving some of their staff to make ends meet, but this particular company opted for keeping all staff and increasing their pay to help alleviate their economic woes in the current tough conditions.
Manager of the "Altissimo" restaurant in Cairo, Ahmad Sami, meanwhile stressed the only way to save the tourism sector, which is the main contributor to the state's economy, is to restore peace and stability.
Efforts by the Interior Ministry are greatly appreciated, and all also appreciate Minister Mohammad Ibrahim Yousef's going out to the streets in campaigns to ensure measures are in place to see improvement, accompanied by a host of security officials.
"The active and noticeable presence of security and police staff on the street resulted in the public feeling safer. This would bring back the tourists," he added.
The businesses were severely affected by the insecurity following the revolution, and most acutely restaurants overlooking the Nile. "The flow of tourist groups is now estimated at just five percent of the previous norm." This understandably takes a bite at this vital sector.
Executive Manager of Yasso restaurant Mohammad Reda for his part said security improvement as well as political stability are a must, if the tourists are to come back. He noted several positive steps had been taken by the Ganzoury government. Still, he said the restaurant is only working at 20 percent capacity at present.
The restauranteur particularly hailed a recent initiative aimed at improving and stimulating the Egyptian economy by Egyptian youth. He said the "Buy Egyptian" campaign to promote Egyptian products is a great way to help the economy.
This campaign could be seen as a sign of burgeoning tourism and economic awareness among the young, and this means they truly realize that a great portion of Egyptian families relies on tourism and its sub-sectors for its income and they need the solidarity.