CAIRO, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Monday called for upgrading the country's tourism, a major factor to counter terrorism and extremism.
Sisi's comments came during his meeting in Cairo with Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Tourism helps bring people closer and create a favorable climate to achieve prosperity and progress, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady quoted Sisi as saying.
Sisi added that Egypt is looking forward to boosting cooperation with the UNWTO in a way that would support tourism, which is a key sector in achieving sustainable development goals.
Sisi said that his country pays big attention to the travel sector, which is considered one of the pillars of the Egyptian economy.
He also highlighted the important role UNWTO plays to support and activate tourism worldwide.
Sisi updated Pololikashvili with efforts exerted to stabilize security across Egypt, and stressed that Egypt is keen to effectively participate in the different activities of the UNWTO.
Pololikashvili said the UNWTO is also seeking to upgrade Egypt's ability to rehabilitate its tourism sector.
He told Sisi joint cooperation plans should be outlined so that UNWTO could share its resources and expertise to upgrade the Egyptian travel sector.
Egyptian tourism sector, a major source of national income and foreign currency, has witnessed recession over the past seven years due to political and security turmoil.
Tourism in Egypt was dealt a heavy blow following the Russian airplane crash in North Sinai in October 2015, after which several countries, including Britain and Russia, suspended their flights to the Egyptian area.
However, experts expect a boom in the business after Russia and Egypt resumed direct flights between the two countries.