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News around Africa - July 5, 2018

Egypt’s Alexandria to boost economy with ‘tourist only’ beaches

‘Tourist only’ beaches are to be put up in Alexandria, Egypt to encourage visitors and make them feel more “comfortable, the Chairman of Alexandria Chamber of Travel Agencies, Ali Al-Manesterly, has said.

The contentious plan, which was announced recently after Egypt signed an agreement to promote the Mediterranean city in Greece, Cyprus and Italy, will allow direct flights to Alexandria and the city’s Borg El Arab Airport which would be expanded to accommodate greater passenger numbers.

Locals are however not taking the decision to heart as the Egypt social media has been rife with criticisms. An Alexandria-based sociologist, Amro Ali, told Al-Monitor that the plan would create a class barrier between Egyptians: ““It’s insulting and deeply disturbing… The few good beaches that exist charge a lot of money and are beyond the means of the average Egyptian, so there is already a class barrier in place.”

Though Egypt’s tourism sector has been struggling in recent years due to the instability caused by the 2011 uprising, the industry was hit yet again in 2015 when a Russian plane crashed near the Sharm El Sheikh holiday resort killing all 224 people on board – which led to Moscow halting all flights to the resort following the incident. According to South Sinai Governor, Major General Khaled Foud in 2017, the tourism sector in Sharm El Sheikh lost $4 billion in the two years resulting from the crash.

Meanwhile, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said earlier that Egypt was on the “right track” to restore its economy after years of instability that had nearly brought the country to its knees. Spurred by the painful reforms, an online campaign has called for the president to step down.

Sisi, who was elected for a second term in March, has been pushing ahead with economic reforms required under a three-year, $12 billion IMF loan that have left many of Egypt’s 100 million people struggling to make ends meet.

 Alexandria is the second-most-populous city in Egypt with over 5 million people. The move is expected to rake in some good sums for the country if implemented

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