Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has issued assurances that it will not seek to impose stringent restrictions on foreign tourists in an effort to boost tourism in the country, the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Sunday.
According to the report, Ahmed Suleiman, the head of the tourism committee at the Freedom and Justice Party, told members of the Egyptian Businessmen Association that tourists would be free to wear, drink and eat what they want.
“We’re very sorry that tourism was affected after the revolution,” Suleiman was quoted as having said.
He added, “We intend to encourage cultural tourism alongside beach tourism” and added that the party also intends to bring out statues of Pharaohs that are kept in warehouses, and display them along the banks of the Nile in an open museum.
“And we will also promote medical and incentive tourism,” he said.
Tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Egypt’s gross domestic product before the uprising that brought about the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. It employed an estimated eighth of the national workforce in a country of high unemployment, the report said.
Egypt’s Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Sunday that revenues from tourism were US$8.8 billion in 2011, down from $12.5 billion in 2010.
The extremist Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in recent parliamentary elections in Egypt has raised concerns over how it will treat foreign tourists at beaches and resorts. While the group said after the elections that it is not interested in imposing Islamic values on Egypt, it said in the past it would implement the strict Islamic Sharia law if it takes office.