Egypt’s minister of tourism, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, denied on Sunday that
newly elected president Mohamed Mursi has offered him the role of vice
Abdel Nour, a Coptic Christian politician and secretary-general of Egypt’s secular, nationalist and liberal New Waft Party, was
appointed tourism minister last February.
He told London-based,
Saudi-owned Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawsat that comments in the Egyptian media
about his possible candidacy for vice president were “rumors.”
pledged several times to appoint Christians – who form around 10 percent of
Egypt’s population – and women to senior posts in his new government. His policy
adviser, Ahmed Deif, told CNN recently that one of the new president’s first
steps will be to appoint a Christian vice president and another female vice
Despite those pledges, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have
expressed fears that a Muslim Brotherhood president could result in more
discrimination against non- Muslims. Abdel Nour, however, told Asharq Alawsat
that concerns about an Islamist president were unfounded.
And while some
figures in Egypt’s tourism industry have warned that an Islamist president could
put tourists off visiting the country, Abdel Nour said Egypt will likely see a
“massive boom” in tourism following Mursi’s election.
Tourism plays a
vital role in Egypt’s economy and Mursi seeks to raise tourism revenue still
further, according to Abdel Nour, by focussing on specific niches like
Egyptian tourism revenues peaked at $12 billion in 2010,
before the Egyptian revolution, but Abdel Nour said figures could hit as high as
$25b. in the next six months, Asharq Alawsat reported.
Abdel Nour said
Egypt would see more tourists from Spain, Turkey and Kazakhstan, as well as from
Russia and Eastern Europe and that the country’s cultural tourism in Cairo,
Luxor and Aswan would experience a recovery.
Meanwhile, the Coptic
minister’s comments regarding Egypt’s Islamist president come days after reports
that Egyptian Coptic activists had moved to form a counterweight group to the
Muslim Brotherhood – the Christian Brotherhood.
According to a report in
Asharq Alawsat on Friday, one figure behind the movement is Cairo-based
Christian human rights lawyer, Mamdouh Nakhla, who said the group may form its
own political party.
Nakhla said that the new group will focus mainly on
the demands of Egypt’s minorities, particularly Christians, but would “defend
any oppressed group, not only Christians because we are not a racist group.”