Egypt's tourism sector recovers by 40% amid precautions

International | Written by : IANS| Updated:

Egypt's tourism sector recovers by 40% amid precautions

Cairo, July 15 (IANS) The Egyptian tourism sector has recovered by 40 per cent amid Covid-19 precautionary measures, eyeing a further improvement after more countries lift lockdowns and travel bans, a top official said here.

"We've reached 40 per cent of the number of tourists who used to visit Egypt before Covid-19, which is a very good rate given that the global average is 25 per cent," Ahmed Youssef, Chairman of the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA), told Xinhua news agency.

He explained that Egypt allowed tourism in April 2020 amid implementation of coronavirus precautionary measures at hotels, airports, flights, museums, tourist attractions and archeological sites.

"In May 2020, we allowed domestic tourism with hotel capacity of 25 per cent, then we gradually increased it to 50 per cent, and later on we opened our country for overseas tourism from July 1, 2020 and have never locked down since then," the TPA head explained.

The official considered the government's recent decision to increase the capacity of hotels and entertainment places from 50 per cent to 70 per cent as "a very positive indicator".

Tourism is one of the key sources of income for Egypt and it accounts for around 12 per cent of the country's GDP.

In 2019, it accounted for a record high of $13 billion in revenues when iover 13 million tourists visited the country.

The hit came after a few years of declining tourism in Egypt caused by a Russian plane crash over the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015 that left 224 fatalities, and a later EgyptAir plane crash in May 2016 that killed all 66 people on board.

Later, tourism in Egypt further declined due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the relevant lockdowns worldwide.

Last week, Russia, a top source of tourists to Egypt, officially announced a decision to lift the ban on charter flights to Egyptian Red Sea resorts, including well-known Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, after nearly six years of suspension.

Besides launching marketing campaigns everywhere in the world, the TPA sponsors international art and cultural events in Egypt as one of its marketing tools amid Covid-19 crisis.

It was also the TPA that organised the legendary Pharaohs' Golden Parade held in early April to celebrate moving 22 mummies from a museum to another in Cairo amid massive international media coverage.