Egypt’s tourism revenue jumps 77 pct in first half — government official

Egypt’s tourism industry, an important foreign currency earner, has been recovering since the 2011 uprising. (Reuters)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Egypt’s tourism revenue jumps 77 pct in first half — government official

  • The tourism sector is a pillar of the country’s economy and a key earner of foreign currency
  • The official said visitor numbers during the first half of 2018 jumped 41 percent from a year before to about 5 million

CAIRO: Egypt’s tourism revenue jumped 77 percent in the first half of 2018 to around $4.8 billion compared with the same period last year, a government official told Reuters.
Egyptian tourism has been gradually recovering from a 2011 downturn triggered by the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, helped by a currency float in late 2016 that halved the pound’s value and made the country a relatively cheap bet for foreign visitors.
The tourism sector is a pillar of the country’s economy and a key earner of foreign currency.
The official, who declined the be named, said visitor numbers during the first half of 2018 jumped 41 percent from a year before to about 5 million. A total of 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.
“Indicators suggest the sector will earn about $9 billion by the end of this year,” the official said, adding there were expectations of greater traffic from western Europe, Italy, Germany and Ukraine toward the end of the year.
That figure would mark a jump from last year’s $7.6 billion.
Egypt’s tourism industry had been hit by years of political upheaval and militant violence.
The country has witnessed a rise in attacks on soldiers and police since then army chief President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi toppled Islamist leader Mohamed Mursi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
Later, the tourism industry was dealt a devastating blow in 2015 when militants bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all passengers and crew on board.
The Daesh group, which has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in an insurgency based mainly in North Sinai, claimed responsibility for the airline attack.
El-Sisi has pledged to wipe out the militants in a large counter-terrorism operation earlier this year.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 min 42 sec ago
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”