File - In Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 photo, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazoua talks to journalists at the U.N. World Tourism Organization conference in Cairo. (AP Photo/Samuel McNeil)
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Egypt's tourism minister hopes to fully revive one of the country's most vital industries by next April but persuading the world that it is safe to visit the ancient pyramids or Red Sea resorts after three years of upheaval is a daunting task. Hisham Zaazou is mounting public relations campaigns, inviting foreign officials to visit and assess Egypt's stability for themselves, and boosting security at airports and hotels. Zaazou hopes his efforts will return annual tourism revenues – a pillar of the economy – to pre-uprising peak levels of 2009 and 2010 of $12.5 billion, despite what he calls alarmist media coverage of Egypt.More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million in 2011 .Tourist revenue in the first half of 2014 was $3 billion, down 25 percent from the same period a year earlier, the government said in August. Government figures had shown tourism contributed 11.3 percent of GDP and 14.4 percent of foreign currency revenues.Egypt's tourism industry has survived big setbacks in the past.On Nov. 17, 1997, Islamist militants descended on Queen Hatshepsut's temple near the Nile town of Luxor. In a short time they shot or hacked to death 58 tourists and four Egyptians.
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