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International travel agencies have rejected proposals from the Muslim Brotherhood regarding restrictions on the behaviour of tourists visiting Egypt, claiming that the proposals could cost the Egyptian economy some US$12.5 billion in annual losses.
Travel industry representatives were responding to the comments of Mohamed Saad al-Katatny, secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, who addressed representitves of the tourism industry on Monday, saying, "Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account. We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance," he continued suggesting that the regulations concern bathing suits and bikinis.
Samy Mahmoud, head of the International Tourism Authority, said no country wishing to promote tourism would impose such conditions.
“The ruling Islamic party of Turkey didn’t do so,” he said. “And Turkey hosts 28 million tourists every year. Nor did Malaysia, which receives 25 million tourists every year, or Indonesia.”
Mahmoud demanded that the Brotherhood create alternative jobs for 1.85 million people working directly - and another 2.85 million people working indirectly - in tourism. He also demanded the group provide alternative income to compensate lost revenue from tourism, which are projected at US$25 billion by 2020.
“Beach tourism constitutes 80 percent of tourists, while 95 percent of Arab tourists drink alcohol,” Mahmoud noted.
Translated from the Arabic Edition