Tourism minister Hesham Zaazou said yesterday that tourism in Egypt is suffering because of the continuing political unrest.
Speaking on private satellite channel ONTv, Zaazou said that images of blood and violence, particularly in Nahda and Rabea Squares where pro-Morsi demonstrators are currently holding sit-ins are keeping tourists away.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that seven flights to Egypt have been cancelled and others are arriving with less than 50 percent occupancy rates following violence on Friday evening that killed over 80 pro-Morsi protesters.
The minister said during his television appearance that he is currently visiting foreign embassies in Egypt in an attempt to persuade them to lift travel warnings, but added that he will not be going to the US Embassy because he has doubts about the extent to which it will cooperate with the tourism sector.
Zaazou also said that he would like US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson to be removed from her post. Patterson has been accused of leading US interference in Egyptian domestic affairs in particular by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
During the rule of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, Zaazou presented his resignation in protest at the appointment of a member of Jama’a al-Islamiya as governor of Luxor. The appointment was widely seen as provocative in light of the group’s involvement in the 1997 killing of 62 people, mostly tourists, at an archeological site in the Upper Egyptian city.