Last week the Egyptian government, which has strong links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, said it will no longer issue licenses to sell alcohol in some urban areas. This includes the newly-built satellite cities on the outskirts of major population centers. Although the ban is unlikely to affect any key holiday destinations, particularly Red Sea resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh, it has raised some fears that growing conservatism could soon affect those travelers wishing to visit the country and enjoy a drink.
The Middle East and North Africa Travel Association, which promotes the region, said that financial realities would most likely discourage the Egyptian government from restricting the sale of alcohol further as tourism is vital to the country's economy. The Red Sea Riviera was deliberately created as a sort of tourist enclave, almost entirely separate from the rest of Egypt and with its own rules and lifestyle. It would be more likely to ban alcohol in the Upper Egypt resorts of Luxor and Aswan in the belief that tourists will continue to visit there whether there is alcohol available or not. While Egypt suffered from a sharp fall in overseas visitors following the Arab Spring, recent figures show that the country is beginning to bring in more tourists again.
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