26 August 2020 – A high-level delegation from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has concluded an official visit to Egypt to offer firm support for the government’s work to restart tourism and direct its benefits towards supporting livelihoods and preserving cultural heritage. As the United Nations released its landmark Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlining his Five Priorities for rebuilding the sector, UNWTO visited Egypt to help guide the implementation of these key recommendations.

Led by the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, the delegation met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr Khaled Al-Anani to learn of the steps taken to support tourism, including through the merging of the ministries of antiquities and tourism and the provision of grants and incentives to the sector. Mr Pololikashvili also met with Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly to learn more of work being undertaken to boost consumer confidence and guarantee the safety of both tourism workers and tourists.

Tourism adapting to new reality The high-level talks, which also featured an update on large-scale tourism projects currently underway, including the new Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, were complemented by visits to several of Egypt’s most popular tourist sites. This allowed the UNWTO delegation to see first-hand the enhanced safety and hygiene protocols put in place in response as the sector adjusts a new reality within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The safe restart of tourism is not only possible, but it is also essential. The United Nations has made clear the importance of tourism for everything from employment to equality, making it an integral part of sustainable development. Egypt, as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, has supported the sector with firm actions, including effective fiscal and economic policies. It is now ready to welcome tourists back to its many sites of interest, all the while putting people and their wellbeing first.