(Adds quotes, details)
* Reserves tumbled since start of 2011, but pace slowed
* Reserves of about $26 bln cover six months of imports
* Tourism may generate $10 bln revenues in 2011/12
By Edmund Blair and Patrick Werr
CAIRO, Aug 2 Egypt's finance minister said on
Tuesday that tourism was showing signs of recovery and the
country's foreign reserves of about $26 billion were adequate
although it could tolerate a lower level if they fall.
Finance Minister Hazem el-Beblawi told Reuters that the
Egyptian government forecast revenues from tourism would total
$10 billion in the financial year that started on July 1,
compared with $11.6 billion in 2009/10.
Reserves were $26.57 billion at the end of June, down $659
million on a month earlier but showing a much slower slide than
earlier this year after an uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak
scared off tourists and investment, two pillars of the economy.
Reserves were about $36 billion before the uprising.
Beblawi said the level of reserves was "reasonably good" and
covered about six months of imports.
"I think that the actual level of the reserves is adequate
and we hope to maintain this level, but I think the economy can
stand even some reduction if there is necessity," he said.
He added that it was "not 100 percent sure that we will
(keep this level) because we are not in normal circumstances."
On tourism, the minister said the industry was showing signs
of recovery, citing a discussion with the tourism minister.
"He told me in a very systematic way the level of occupancy
in Sharm el-Sheikh and other places on the Red Sea was
systemically and constantly recovering. If this trend continues
by the end of the year we will reach the normal level," he said.
"He (the tourism minister) also mentioned to me that after
all that we expect that tourism will contribute for this year
$10 billion in revenues," Beblawi said.
(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Susan Fenton)