Egypt receives safe travel stamp from World Travel and Tourism Council

A man wearing a face mask works in the Sharm El-Sheikh museum for its reopening in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, June 20, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Egypt was granted on Saturday "Safe Travel Stamp" from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), according to the country's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

"The WTTC has approved Egypt's regulations for resuming international tourism," Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anany told reporters.

The WTTC has designed the stamp to identify destinations and businesses that adopted its health and hygiene standards.

"This decision reflects Egypt's commitment to the safe resumption of inbound tourism with strict comprehensive hygiene measures starting from July 1," al-Anany added while inspecting the anti-COVID-19 measures taken by hotels, airports, and museums in the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Al-Anany told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday that "the North African country will reopen its airports, and resorts in the Red Sea, South Sinai, and Matrouh's provinces to the international tourists in an attempt to ease the anticipated recession caused by COVID-19 on the tourism sector."

The three provinces were selected because they have coastal open-air cities, with warm and dry atmosphere and they also reported the lowest numbers of coronavirus infections in Egypt, al-Anany said, adding that other tourist destinations, such as Luxor, Aswan, and Cairo, will be reopened gradually.

Gloria Guevara, president of WTTC expressed her happiness to see Egypt joining the growing list of global destinations that have adopted the institution's health protection protocols.

Egypt tourism revenues hit 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, highest in the country's history, according to figures released by the Central Bank of Egypt.

Egypt has since March halted air traffic and closed archaeological sites, museums, and hotels to control the spread of COVID-19. The tourism sector lost around 5 billion U.S. dollars in the first four months of 2020, according to official statistics.

In recent weeks, Egypt started loosening its measures, including slowly opening hotels for domestic tourists and issuing hygiene safety certificates to 232 hotels.