CAIRO, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The number of tourists who visited Egypt in April was down by 21 percent comparing to the same month a year earlier, the tourism ministry said in a statement cited by state-run Al-Ahram website on Saturday.
The ministry said only 859,889 tourists visited Egypt in April, adding more than 1.11 million tourists visited the country in April 2013.
Tourism officials are hoping the presidential election to be held on Monday and Tuesday would boost stability to revive the country's flagging tourism sector after years of political and security woes.
Tourism is a key source for employment and hard currencies in Egypt, a country of 85 million people, and before the January 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, tourism accounted for 11 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product.
In a bid to revive this vital sector, the tourism ministry has floated a global initiative that would emphasize Egypt is safe and fun to be visited.
The ministry is seeking to lure more tourists from the Arab world as European visitors, who are Egypt's traditional visitors, are not expected to return to Egypt with the same rates prior to the 2011 uprising.
More than 14 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010 but this number declined to almost eight million tourists after the 2011 unrest.
Since this, Egypt has been seeing declining rates of visitors due to political turbulences after 2011, which ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak and the one-year rule of Mohamed Morsi.
Also, Egypt has been rocked by a series of attacks and blasts that mainly targeted police and army but militants have attacked tourist sites especially in the restive Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel. In February, three South Koreans were killed as a bomb blast hit a tourist bus in South Sinai near a border crossing with Israel.
However, tourism officials are hoping that the Egyptian political scene will be more stable after the presidential election this week.
Former military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is expected to defeat his sole rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahy, in the presidential vote due to his growing popularity in the country.
Earlier this month, the tourism ministry launched a three-year marketing campaign to attract tourists and investors and open up new markets in India, China and Latin America.