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Morsi Claims Egypt Safe for Tourists as Key Road Closes

RIA Novosti

12:54 06/08/2012 CAIRO, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi said on Monday that Egypt remains a stable and safe destination for tourists, despite the revolution in 2011 that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi was speaking following Sunday’s militant attack on the Sinai Peninsula that killed 16 Egyptian guards and injured seven near the Karem Abu Salem Israeli border crossing.

“Egypt is still firm, stable and safe country for tourists, mainly because of those people who set up revolution in spring on 2011,” Morsi said in a televised address on Monday, adding that “Egypt had become safer than before.”

Egyptian authorities have closed the road along the Mediterranean coast in the northern Sinai for the tourist buses after the attack, Egypt’s security services said in a statement.

The Egyptian tourism sector comprises about 11 percent of country's gross domestic product and provides jobs for three million Egyptians. The Egyptian tourism industry has been significantly affected by the Arab Spring popular uprising that toppled long-serving president Mubarak and put the country under a state of emergency.

The North African state is one of the most popular tourist destinations among Russians, with the number of Russian tourists traveling to Egypt from January to May 2012 up by 82 percent compared to 2011, when it was gripped by revolutionary turmoil, according to Egypt’s tourism authority.

Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturism) estimated the number of Russian tourists traveling to Egypt in 2011 at 1.4 million people, which is 40 percent less than the previous year.

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