Egypt booze ban could hit tourism


Plans to restrict the sale of alcohol in Egypt could have a huge impact on tourism in the area.

The Telegraph reports that that the government has said that it will no longer issue licenses to sell alcohol in some urban areas, including newly-built 'satellite cities'.

Nabil Abbas, vice-president of the New Urban Communities Authority, said: "We cannot allow stores spreading debauchery in our society."

Major resorts such as Sharm-el Sheikh are unlikely to be affected by the ban, but there are still fears that growing conservatism will have affect tourism.

However, Peter Lilley, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Travel Association, told The Telegraph that the Egyptian government is unlikely to impose further restrictions.

He said: "Egypt is very volatile so it's impossible to give cast-iron guarantees, but tourism is absolutely vital to the country's economy. Even those in government who dislike some of the 'negative' aspects of tourism which offend Muslims - such as alcohol - know it would be madness to effectively close the door to tourists."

He added: "The Red Sea Riviera was quite deliberately created as a sort of tourist enclave, almost entirely separate from the rest of Egypt and with its own rules and lifestyle, therefore it's highly unlikely this area will be subject to an alcohol ban. It's marginally more likely that a ban could be introduced which would include the Upper Egypt resorts of Luxor and Aswan - in the belief that tourists will continue to visit there whether there's alcohol available or not."

Despite continuing unrest, recent figures suggest that Egypt is attracting growing numbers of tourists. An estimated 11.5million holidaymakers visited last year, including around one million Britons, representing an increase of 17 per cent on 2011.

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