|Egypt’s aim to lure 30 million tourists by 2022 a “national priority”.|
Tourists visiting Islamist-ruled Egypt are welcome to pop into a bikini and down an alcoholic beverage or two, the country’s tourism minister has said.
As Egypt fights to regain the ground lost in visitor arrivals since the 2011 fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the country’s instability since then, it has attempted to shrug off its perceived conservative coat.
"Bikinis are welcome in Egypt and booze is still being served," the Guardian reported Egyptian tourism minister Hisham Zazou as saying.
The comments were made in an attempt to dismiss calls by some radical Salafi Muslim groups wanting to ban both bikinis and booze.
"We had talks with these Salafi groups and now they understand the importance of the tourism sector, but still you have some individuals that are not from the leadership saying these things," Mr Zazou said.
According to Mr Zazou, Egypt has set a goal to boost tourism numbers by 20 percent, with a long-term target of 30 million tourists 2022.
The first quarter of 2013 has seen Egypt welcome some three million tourists, 14.6 percent growth over the same period in 2012.