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Opinion: Footnotes
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 20 - 09 - 2011

CAIRO - In view of his colossal efforts to revive Egypt's faltering tourism, Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour should not be abandoned and left to his own devices.
The Minister has launched his ambitious “1000 Smiles” campaign in the French capital. He has high hopes that the initiative will boost Egypt's tourism so that it will recover from a series of setbacks and difficulties since the January 25 revolution.
The Minister's determination should encourage everybody to take part in this great national task. Citizens in different sectors should step forward and show their unswerving and undivided commitment to the tourism industry, which is the motor of local development.
This strategic industry is also widely regardes as job creating. Citizens' efforts would be widely acknowledged if they participated in strengthening the sense of security in society.
Responsible citizens should also co-operate with governmental and security authorities to restore stability. Without security and stability, foreign visitors will prefer to stay away.
Egypt's tourism has been in dire straits since these two major factors went missing in our society, which, paradoxically – has been known for its warm hospitality.
Paradoxically, while the revolution was calling for freedom, social justice and democracy; anarchists and outlaws infiltrated mass demonstrations and attacked public and private property.
Acts of violence, looting, sabotage and theft led to panic among locals and foreign visitors. Because of these tragic events, the performance of the tourism industry declined by 25 per cent to $10 billion (about LE60 billion); many people lost their jobs and the entire national economy deteriorated.
It is quite sad that violent incidents have caused foreign admirers of our revolution more shock than disillusionment, while the latter is overwhelming the locals.
Some stumbling blocks are too visible to be ignored, like the mountains of rubbish cluttering our streets and threatening our tourism industry, not to mention the strikes that occur almost daily.
Some people seem to be completely unaware of the revolution's true meaning; they block big roads and railways. Egyptians should be reminded that visitors to their country are not prepared to have their stay in Egypt ruined by being marooned in their hotels.
We should encourage tourists to respond in a positive way to the Minister of Tourism's efforts and his “1000 Smiles” campaign.
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