BERLIN -- Egypt lost 55% of its anticipated tourist arrivals in
December and January, following the massacre of 58 tourists in
Luxor last November, Mamdouh El-Beltagui, Egypt's minister of
tourism, said at the ITB trade show here.
It was the largest percentage drop confirmed by Egyptian
officials since the attack by Islamic militants at the Temple of
El-Beltagui did not reveal the number of arrivals. He said the
arrivals of German tourists declined 70% during December and
January. More than a dozen Germans were killed during the Luxor
massacre, and more died in an attack outside a Cairo museum last
Although several prominent operators canceled their programs,
El-Beltagui said the U.S. market was the least affected after the
Luxor massacre, with a 24% decline in December and a 17% drop in
Russian arrivals increased 14.5% in December and January, he
Since the Luxor attack, Egypt has implemented tighter security
measures to safeguard tourist sites, El-Beltagui told delegates.
Most European countries, however, have not lifted travel advisories
posted after the Luxor massacre.
In mid-February, the U.S. State Department rescinded its public
notices cautioning against travel to upper Egypt.
El-Beltagui cited some of the new measures:An anti-terrorist intelligence service was upgraded.Rings of security were added near tourist sites.Communication was enhanced between the security's central
management and local checkpoints.Security forces were given more weapons.Education requirements were raised for, and advanced training
given to, security employees.Hotels implemented restricted access.The government moved 280 employees into security-support
Tourism brought the equivalent of $3.8 million of foreign
currency into Egypt last year, more than any other commercial
Plans still are on track to increase the country's lodging
capacity from 75,000 to 150,000 rooms within three to five years,
according to El-Beltagui.