CAIRO, June 26 (Xinhua) -- The number of Chinese tourists that visited Egypt in the first five months this year has nearly doubled from last year, the Egyptian official MENA news agency reported Monday.
A total of 18,000 Chinese tourists visited Egypt from January to May 2017, marking a 94 percent rise from the same period last year, Abul Maati Shaarawy, tourism adviser at the Egyptian embassy in Beijing was quoted as saying.
China has become the fourth largest exporter of tourists to Egypt since the beginning of 2017, Shaarawy said.
Chinese tourists spent 850,000 tourist nights in Egypt from January to May 2017, compared to 161,000 tourist nights in the same period last year, Shaarway added.
He predicted further rise in the number of Chinese tourists to visit Egypt as the two sides are now in talks to increase weekly flights between Egypt and China.
Negotiations are now underway with the Chinese Civil Aviation Ministry to operate two or three weekly flights between Cairo and Shanghai, one of the largest cities in China, Shaarway said.
Shaarway expected the deal to be sealed in September to coincide with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's planned visit to China.
Sisi will attend the September 3-5 9th BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen of Fujian province, and the third China-Arab States Expo to be held in Yinchuan, the capital city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region from September 6 to 9.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, Egypt and China are to sign two agreements, including one between the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority and the Ningxia tourism bureau, and another between two archaeological cities in Egypt and Ningxia, Shaarway said.
On July 13, the new Egyptian charter airline "Air Leisure" will also start a new direct flight route between Xi'an, capital city of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and Egypt's Aswan city, Shaarway added.
Egypt, a popular tourist destination famous for the Pyramids, has been making huge efforts to revive its tourism industry hit hard by terror attacks and political turbulences in the past years, by promoting tourism in new markets such as China.