Egypt’s Immigration Minister: We Don’t Need Foreign Tourists

While Egypt is striving to revive tourism to rescue its wrecked economy, Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Expatriates Affairs Nabila Makram said in an interview with al-Ghad T.V,”We don’t need now the foreign tourist, but we need the Egyptian tourist. We want the Egyptians living abroad to come to Egypt and activate tourism in their country.”

She continued, “We need nothing from anyone (pointing to foreign tourists).”‘She also added,”The Egyptians living in Egypt shouldn’t travel abroad but they should travel inside their country as we have places that are similar or even better than those in other countries.”

It is noteworthy that Egypt is struggling to revive tourism, one of the major sources of foreign currency in the country, that suffers from an economic crisis due to the shortage of foreign currency. The number of tourists fell 40% in the first quarter of 2016.

Both the British and Russian governments have banned their airlines from traveling to Sharm AL-Sheikh for security concerns after the bombing of a Russian passenger jet in October 2015 killing all 224 people on board. Sinai Province- a group affiliated with the Islamic State- has claimed their responsibility for downing the Russian plane.

In addition, Egypt has received another blow in May when an Egypt Air plane crashed into the Mediterranean, killing all 66 people on board. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Recently, hopes on reviving tourism have also weakened after the latest explosion near St Mark’s Cathedral, the main Coptic church in central Cairo.

The bomb blast has killed at least 25 people and injured nearly 49 others during Sunday mass inside a Cairo church near the main Coptic Christian cathedral, according to Egyptian state TV.

The Islamic State(IS)-Daesh-claimed its responsibility for the attach which was the deadliest attack targeting the Christian minority for years.

In a statement attributed to Daesh, the militant group said the bomber had killed and injured 80 people, vowing “to continue war against apostates.” The Egyptian government had earlier released footage showing images said to be that of the alleged suicide attacker.

The pro-IS Amaq news agency said in a statement that a suicide bomber “of the Islamic State carried out the attack using an explosive belt”, identifying him as Abu Abdallah Al Masri.

The Islamic State vowed in its statement to escalate its “war on polytheism” . The threat suggested that the group, which has been battling the Egyptian military in the Sinai Peninsula for years, planned to intensify its operations in Egypt’s biggest cities. “All the infidels and the apostates in Egypt and everywhere should know that our fight against polytheism is going on,” the IS statement said.