1st Chinese tourist group arrives in Egypt since COVID-19 outbreak
CAIRO, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year, Egypt received the first Chinese tourist group on Friday since the outbreak of COVID-19 three years ago.
During a welcoming ceremony for the Chinese tourist group at Cairo International Airport, Egyptian Vice Minister for Tourism and Antiquities Ghada Shalaby welcomed the Chinese tourists, expressing aspiration to see more Chinese tourist groups.
Highlighting the attention Egypt pays to the health and safety of tourists, Shalaby said all workers in all Egyptian hotels and tourist facilities have been vaccinated and trained on the highest health and safety standards.
Chinese tourists will find many Chinese products in Egypt that will make them feel at home, she added.
Yehia Zakaria, chairman of the EgyptAir Holding Company, also welcomed the arrival of the Chinese tourist group, noting both Egypt and China boast of ancient civilizations steeped in history.
According to Zakaria, the number of weekly flights between Egypt and China will be increased to 13 starting March: seven to the southern city of Guangzhou, three to the eastern city of Hangzhou, and three to Beijing.
In his address at the welcoming ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang thanked the Egyptian government and people for giving a warm welcome to the Chinese tourists and wished for an ever-lasting friendship between the two countries.
"It is believed that in the near future, the number of Chinese tourists and flights to Egypt will return to the pre-epidemic level," Liao said.
Feng Jian, a tourist from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, said it is his first time to travel abroad since the start of the pandemic.
"I chose Egypt for my first trip, as Egypt, like China, is also one of the four ancient civilizations and I want to experience the culture of Egypt," he told Xinhua.
Fu Bo, another tourist from Beijing, said he has always wanted to visit Egypt as he is interested in Egyptian history and culture.
"I heard that the Egyptians are generally friendly to Chinese tourists, so I hope to visit Egypt more often," Fu added.
China used to be the fourth largest source of tourists to Egypt in the pre-pandemic years.
In 2019, Egypt received 13.1 million tourists, with its tourism revenues hitting a record high of 13.03 billion U.S. dollars before the pandemic badly hit the sector in the next few years.
During the first half of 2022, however, some 4.9 million tourists visited Egypt, showing an increase of 85.4 percent compared to the same period in 2021, according to Egypt's official statistics agency.