Spring vacations bring more tourists to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh

Thousands of tourists poured into Egypt this week, officials said, showing signs that tourism rates are recovering after last year’s uprising.

The number of passengers at Egyptian airports increased by 80 percent this week compared to the same period last year, Gad al-Karim Nasr, chairman of the Egyptian Airports Company, said.

The number of tourists dropped during the last quarter of 2011 by 29.2 percent to 2.9 million, compared to 4.2 million at the same time in 2010, according to official figures.

Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh airports received 398 charter flights on Saturday and Sunday, Nasr added.

“Better security performance and spring vacations in Europe, as well as promotion for Egyptian tourism abroad, significantly helped increase the number of incoming tourists,” he added.

Nasr said Hurghada Airport received 27,000 tourists on Saturday and Sunday, and Sharm el-Sheikh Airport received 28,000.

He said the number of tourists arriving at Hurghada Airport was 115 percent compared to the same period last year. But he said the rate was 22 percent less than the same period in 2010.

The tourism rate at Sharm el-Sheikh airport increased by 80 percent compared to last year, but declined by 35 percent compared to 2010, Nasr said.

No increase was recorded at Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Borg al-Arab airports.

However, the company is considering ways to attract tourists to these airports in the coming months, either by continuing the incentives the Civil Aviation Ministry has granted to airline companies seeking to operate in Egypt or cooperating with airlines to attract more tourists to these cities.

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