Mideast tourism up 5 pct in 2017, Egypt eyes 25 pct rise in 2018: UN official

09 May 2018

Handicrafts are displayed at the opening of the 44th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for the Middle East and UNWTO Regional Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on May 8, 2018. The inflow of world tourism to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increased by five percent in 2017, a record high since 2011, said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The inflow of world tourism to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increased by five percent in 2017, a record high since 2011, said an official of the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday.

Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that the number of tourists who visited the MENA region mounted to 85 million in 2017, expecting 'remarkable improvement' of the tourism sector in the region over the coming three to four years.

His remarks came during the 44th meeting of the UNWTO Comission for the Middle East and UNWTO Regional Conference, held on May 8 and 9 in Sharm el-Sheikh, with the theme of 'Human Capital Development in Tourism: New Prespectives.'

In Egypt, the number of tourists declined from 14.7 million in 2010 to about eight million in 2017 due to political instability and relevant security challenges.

The WTO secretary-general said that there are expectations for Egypt to receive about 10 million tourists in 2018 compared to around 8 million in 2017.

Pololikashvili added that Egyptian-born Liverpool's soccer star Mohamed Salah could play a great role in promoting Egyptian tourism.

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