Tourism returning to Egypt
Tourism recovering in Egypt, but are the figures a true indicator?
One million tourists visited Egypt in August, 14 per cent more than the 907,000 tourists the country received in the same month in 2011, government statistics agency CAPMAS reported on Wednesday.
The number is still slightly lower than the 1.1 million tourists who visited Egypt in August 2010, the year which saw the most tourists in the country's history.
Tourism in Egypt was dealt a near-deadly blow as a result of the political instability following the early 2011 uprising.
The total number of incoming tourists to Egypt in the first eight months of 2012 is estimated at around 7.1 million.
On a monthly basis, the number of inbound tourists in August and July 2012 remained steadily at one million.
Most inbound tourism was by Western European travellers, followed by Eastern European and Middle Eastern tourists.
These travellers spent a total of 12 million nights in-country, 10 per cent more than in August of last year, but 25 per cent lower than August 2010.
The number of tourists by itself is not an indicator, however, as it counts all visitors to Egypt who spend more than 24 hours inside the country.
The summer is traditionally the high season for Arab tourism in Egypt, but in August 2011 just 130,000 tourists visited Egypt.
Figures for August and June 2012 show a significant improvement in tourism. Together they showed a growth of 11 per cent over the same period in 2011.
The former Tourism Minister, Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, predicted 12 million visitors by the end of the year, representing a 23 per cent increase on 2011.
In August, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi visited the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor and publically promised to ensure domestic security in an effort to prevent any decline in tourism.
Morsi said in early October that tourist numbers rose by 11 per cent in September compared to the same month last year.
Despite the 5 August attack on Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip and recent clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square, inbound tourism appears to be on the rise.
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