CAIRO Feb 24 Egypt's tourism minister is
heading to Tehran, the government said on Sunday, as Cairo tries
to halt sliding visitor numbers and thaws relations with Iran
after a 30-year freeze.
Minister Hisham Zaazou will visit the Iranian capital from
Monday under a drive "to restore tourism activity into Egypt and
discover new and diverse markets", the Tourism Ministry said in
Last month President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first
Iranian leader to visit Egypt since Tehran's 1979 Islamic
revolution, and called for a strategic alliance with Cairo.
Egypt's tourism sector has suffered since a popular uprising
toppled president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Waves of riots and
instability have driven many tourists away.
Tourism used to account for more than a tenth of Egypt's
gross domestic product (GDP) before the uprising. In 2010,
around 14.7 million visitors came to Egypt, generating around
$12.5 billion, but this slumped to 9.8 million people in 2011,
bringing in $8.8 billion.
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by David Stamp)