The Salafi-oriented Nour Party has agreed with the Egyptian Federation of Tourism Chambers to permit all types of tourism, except those involving “prostitution,” according to party spokesperson Mohamed Nour.
“Tourists must respect our ethics,” he said, without expanding on what he meant by tourism relating to "prostitution."
Nour said his party acknowledges the importance of tourism to the economy. “We’ll work on improving the tourist infrastructure and training human resources,” he said.
After banning prostitution in 1949, any act of prostitution is illegal according to the Egyptian legal system.
Since the revolution and the rise of Islamist forces, including the ultra-conservative Salafis, some have issued statements calling for a ban on alcohol and the wearing of swimming suits.
The statements have caused uproar within the tourist industry, a top foreign currency earner, accounting for more than a tenth of Egypt’s gross domestic product and employing an estimated eighth of the workforce.
“We didn’t propose medical tourism as a substitute to that of beaches,” Nour said.
Amr Sedqy, a member of the tourism federation, said Egypt does not have the infrastructure, such as hospitals and equipment, necessary for medical tourism. “Eighty percent of the tourists come for the beaches,” he explained. “And promoting that sector in Sinai was meant to protect the peninsula from aggression by attracting foreign investments there.”
Sedqy also said he is confident that moderate Islamists within the Brotherhood understand the importance of this issue.