ourism Minister Rania el-Mashat during Thursday press meeting with reporter- Egypt Today/Nourhan Magdi
CAIRO – 5 April 2018: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism called on Saudi authorities to cancel the pre-requisite electronic signature for pilgrims heading to the holy land to perform Umra or Hajj, said Tourism Minister Rania el-Mashat during a Thursday press meeting.
According to the minister, pilgrims end up doing the e-signature twice; once in Egypt and another time when they land in the Saudi territories. She explained that the signature is demanded by the Saudi side to finish the visa and travel procedures.
She added that pilgrims are facing escalated problems as “Tasaheel” Company that is providing the e-signature service has not opened enough branches across the Egyptian governorates.
The request submitted to the Saudi authorities comes amid complaints from pilgrims who fail to meet the prerequisite e-signature.
The minister held Thursday’s meeting, titled “Tourism and Economy: A discussion Session”, to display a development vision to regain the sector’s success.
The new Chairman of board of directors of the Egyptian Authority for Tourism Development, Ahmed Youssef, attended the meeting and pointed out his plans to further depend on social media and youth cadres to meet the sector’s demands and expand to new markets.
Mashat’s plans to promote the tourism sector and adopt sustainable tourism topped a high-level meeting led by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and a number of Cabinet officials on Monday.
The meeting discussed Egypt’s current tourism situation and how much tourism contributes to the country’s economy.
Mashat was appointed as minister of tourism as part of a January reshuffle that included, for the first time, six female ministers in Egypt’s Cabinet.
Since assuming the post, Mashat revealed her developmental plans to restore the sector’s success.
As part of her agenda, the minister met with international tourism experts, where she displayed positive indicators towards tourism recovery in Egypt, citing the increase of hotel reservations in the country during the next season. She also spoke with foreign tour operators about problems they are facing in Egypt, asserting that Egypt is committed to all agreements inked with foreign partners from 2015-2017.