Egypt Hopes Iran Visit Will Boots Tourism
Egypt's tourism minister is heading to Tehran, the government said, as Cairo tries to halt sliding visitor numbers and thaw relations with Iran after a 30-year freeze.
Minister Hisham Zaazou will visit the Iranian capital from Monday under a drive "to restore tourism activity into Egypt and discover new and diverse markets", the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.
Last month President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt since Tehran's 1979 Islamic revolution, and called for a strategic alliance with Cairo.
Egypt's tourism sector has suffered since a popular uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Waves of riots and instability have driven many tourists away.
Tourism used to account for more than a tenth of Egypt's gross domestic product before the uprising. In 2010, around 14.7 million visitors visited Egypt, generating around USD$12.5 billion, but this slumped to 9.8 million people in 2011, bringing in USD$8.8 billion.