Minister: Pro-Morsy protests hampering tourism

Protests by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy are hampering Egypt's already stagnant tourism trade, Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou said.

Protests by Morsy loyalists at Rabea al-Adaweya Square in Cairo and al-Nahda Square in Giza are hurting tourism trade growrth in Egypt, the minister said in an interview with satellite channel ONTV late Tuesday, adding that tourism directly benefits 16 million people in the country.

Zaazou was part of the Hesham Qandil Cabinet appointed by Morsy.

The former president was removed by the armed forces earlier this month, a move that has divided the country and sparked a series of deadly clashes in cities across the country.

Zaazou quit his post in the wake of Morsy's final speech on 26 June, days before mass protests eventually prompted his overthrow.

Reservations dropped by 50 percent during the second half of July, the minister said during the interview. He revealed that his ministry intends to cooperate with Google to promote tourist destinations in Egypt, possibly by using livestream videos.

Zaazou revealed that the tourism sector is working on opening up the local market to Iranian visitors, meanwhile stressing that it was necessary to provide protection for all tourists, including Iranians.