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Egypt's tourism minister: Webcams will prove we're safe

By CNN Wire
updated 6:53 AM EST, Thu February 7, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • According to tourism minister Zazou, there were 11.5 million visitors to Egypt in 2012
  • Egypt boasts the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh and the ancient Pyramids in Giza
  • The British Foreign Office warns against travel to some areas of Egypt citing "a threat from terrorism"

(CNN) -- Egypt's tourism minister plans to install live webcams in holiday hotspots to prove the country's industry remains healthy.

Hisham Zazou told CNN that cameras will broadcast live video of holiday makers on the beach "basking in the sun."

He added: "This will give more credibility... when [tourists] see it, they will come."

Egypt's beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh and the ancient Pyramids in Giza have long pulled tourism revenue, giving a vital boost to the Egyptian economy.

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But Egypt's image as a tourism destination has suffered since the Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia just over two years ago and spread across the Middle East.

Egypt, with its population of around 84 million, is far bigger than Tunisia and the country's poverty -- with 40% of people living on less than $2 a day -- has fed the unrest.

Visitors have shied away from the country through its first uprising and further revolts against the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party under Mohammed Morsy, who took power after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

The violence and police crackdowns, particularly in the nation's capital, Cairo, have hampered attempts to resuscitate the tourism industry.

Read more: Protesters attack presidential palace in Cairo

But according to Zazou, the 11.5 million visitors to Egypt last year is cause for optimism. This is compared with 9.5 million in 2011 and 14.1 million in 2010, prior to the outbreak Arab Spring, according to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Zazou said it is wrong to say Egypt is a dangerous country because of the protests in the capital. He told CNN the unrest in "one square kilometer in downtown Cairo" should not dissuade people from the entire country.

Read more: Shoes hurled at Iranian President Ahmadinejad during trip to Cairo

On the political situation in Egypt, Zazou expects a new government "that reflects both Egypts" to be formed after the next parliamentary elections later this year.

He added: "Egypt is in a transition period, you can expect these things. It happened to other countries... It seems like we're a divided society but we're going to get together."

The British Foreign Office warns against travel to some areas of Egypt citing a "threat from terrorism." According to the office, a "high risk of attacks" remains despite tight security through the country.

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report

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