Egypt’s tourism minister resigns over appointment of new governor of Luxor province

Adel Mohammed Al-Khayat is linked to Islamic militant's Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya - the group behind the Luxor massacre

Cairo

Egypt’s tourism minister has resigned over the government appointment of an Islamic fundamentalist associated with the group behind the Luxor massacre as governor of Luxor province.

Six British tourists, including a five-year-old boy, were among the 62 people killed in the 1997 attack on the east bank of the Nile. Six terrorists belonging to the Islamic militant group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya slaughtered tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut before killing themselves.

The group of which they were part has since renounced violence and established the Construction and Development Party as its political wing. The new Luxor governor, Adel  Mohammed Al-Khayat, is a member of that party. He has been appointed to run the heartland of Egyptian antiquity by President Mohammed Morsi – as one of 17 new appointees who are replacing existing governors in a move which some analysts say will strengthen Islamist control.

Tourism minister Hesham Zazou resigned because of the appointment, though it was unclear last night if his resignation had been accepted. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Tourism, Rasha Azaizy, said: “Everyone has expressed their fears about the choice of this man. They don’t want a governor with an ultra-right religious inclination.”

While Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have seen only modest declines in tourism, visits to the Nile have declined sharply since political turmoil began two years ago. British-based tour operators believe the appointment of Mr Al-Khayat will appal prospective holidaymakers and damage the industry further.

One specialist, who did not want to be named, said: “It beggars belief that a figure with tourists’ blood on his hands has been put in charge of the very region where the massacre took place”.

In Egypt, Mr Morsi’s decision has provoked a strong reaction from key figures within the tourism industry.

“What happens in Luxor reflects on the tourist business in the whole of Egypt,” said Tawfik Kamal, chairman of the Egyptian Hotels Association.

The Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) – representing hotel owners, tour operators and figures from the lucrative water sports and diving industries – has called an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the crisis.

The organisation’s chairman, El-Hamy El-Zayat, said: “Irrespective of whether he did or didn’t participate in the 1997 massacre, he belongs to a radical group that once called for killing tourists.”

The session will take place in a five-star hotel next week, and discuss possible steps to prevent Mr Al-Khayat from continuing in his job.

Walid el-Haddad, an official from Mr Morsi’s party, defended his leader’s decision to appoint Mr Al-Khayat. “We mustn’t ignore or isolate anybody from participating in the political scene,” he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Store Sales Executive

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Sales Executive ...

Recruitment Genius: Night Porters - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Night Porters are required to join a family-ow...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn