Inshallah! Egypt's tourism industry regaining momentum
The Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) has officially released the country’s tourism figures for 2013, reporting an impressive 9.5 million tourists visited Egypt throughout last year. Attracting 6.9 million tourists – 71 percent of the total number of tourists visiting Egypt in 2013 – were the Governorates of South Sinai and the Red Sea.
The numbers also showed that 21 thousand Emirati tourists visited in 2013, compared to 27 thousand in 2012; while 208 thousand Saudi tourists visited in 2013, compared to 242 thousand in 2012; and 83 thousand Kuwaiti tourists visited in 2013, compared to 96 thousand in 2012.
Hisham Zaazou, Egyptian Minister of Tourism, said: “Over the past three years, and since the 25th of January Revolution, Egypt attracted more than 30 million tourists - with over 20 percent visiting from the Arab world – further reinforcing Egypt’s position as a prime tourist destination in the Arab world and globally. Despite the decrease in the number of tourists in 2013, which amounted to a fall of just under 18 percent when compared with 2012, we continue to maintain Egypt’s position as a safe tourist destination. Regardless of the current challenges that Egypt faces, it is still considered the destination of choice for many Arab and foreign tourists.”
The figures revealed a trend that the Governorate of South Sinai and the Governorate of the Red Sea - home to the popular cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada respectively - have enjoyed a more stable and successful year in 2013. Primarily due to their strategic geographic position far from key cities such as Cairo, the two governorates were the least impacted by political unrest, which translated into a larger share of tourists. The high levels of safety and security that the two governorates enjoy, has ensured a steady flow of tourists to both destinations since 2011.
The statistics showed that more than 2 million tourists visited South Sinai and the Red Sea during the first quarter of 2013, while during the second quarter, the number of tourists reached more than 2.1 million – an increase of 4 percent. The third quarter - which coincided with the 30th of June Revolution - saw the arrival of 1.1 million tourists recording a decrease of around 45 percent compared with the second quarter of 2013.During the fourth quarter, Egypt saw the arrival of 1.3 million tourists, an increase of 18 percent compared with the third quarter of 2013 indicating a gradual recovery in the tourism industry despite the increased political stability at the end of the year.
Zaazou added: “The tourism figures for 2013, where we saw a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Egypt in the first half of the year as well as a strong recovery at the end of the year, reflect the confidence tourists have around the world in Egypt’s political situation.