Egyptian Officials claim the country is safe to travel

Despite ongoing security concerns, Egypt’s tourism minister said that resorts and popular tourist attractions in the country are safe options for travelers.

According to The Associated Press, Mohamed Yehia Rashed said Monday at the Arabian Travel Market convention in Dubai that Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, airports, hotels and ancient sites are safe enough for travelers to visit once again despite terrorist attacks on Coptic Christian churches over the last several months.

While officials claim the region is safe, Egypt’s Tourism Authority chairman Hicham al-Demairi said that numbers have declined drastically.

In 2015, Egypt hosted nearly 15 million tourists, but the number of visitors dropped to 5.3 million in 2016.

Germany remains the country’s largest visitor market, but the growing tourism numbers from Arab countries represented around 36 percent of total traffic to Egypt last year. Over 500,000 of those visitors came from Saudi Arabia in 2016, followed by Jordan with 180,000 visitors.

As Egypt tries to rebuild its devastated multibillion-dollar tourism industry, the country is still dealing with Russia not allowing flights to or from the country and a sharp decline in the value of the national currency. While the value has dropped drastically, it makes traveling to the historic nation a much more affordable option.

Now, officials are hoping to entice between seven and 10 million tourists in 2017, with a new focus on travelers from Latin American, Eastern Europe and Asia, in addition to the typical markets which make up Egypt’s tourism sector.

“We don’t want to only depend on coastal and cultural tourism,” al-Demairi told The AP.