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The measures adopted this year by the Ministry of Tourism had served to offset the adverse effects of last year’s drop in tourist numbers, Tourism Promotion Authority official Sami Mahmoud said this week.

“We will have 15 million tourists by the end of December, generating a total income of US$13 billion,” Mahmoud said. He pointed to a recent 20-percent increase in tourist arrivals, which, he noted, surpassed international rates that usually hover between 4 and 7 percent.

“We had 12.5 million tourist arrivals last year for a total income of US$10.7 billion,” he explained, adding that the target achieved this year had originally been projected for 2011. “It’s a success story in every sense of the word.”

Mahmoud attributed the strong performance to a promotional campaign launched by the ministry in Europe, Asia, the United States and several Arab countries.

“We had 2.5 million Arab tourists this year,” he said. “This represents a 10-percent increase on the previous year.”

Mahmoud went on to deny that the local tourism industry had been adversely affected by the recent spate of shark attacks near the Red Sea resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh. “Egypt has only seen 13 such incidents within the last 100 years,” he stressed

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