Egypt ends 2013 tourism year on "dismal note"
Egypt's tourism minister described 2013 as one of the worst years on record for the country's tourism industry (Courtesy of Al Jazeera)
The number of tourists to Egypt dropped to 678,000 in December 2013, a decrease of 30.7 from December 2012, according to the state statistical agency CAPMAS.
The total of 5.1 million nights in December 2013 was also a significant drop of 63.1 percent from 13.9 million December 2012.
The tourists came mainly from Eastern Europe, followed Western Europe and the Middle East.
Until December, Egypt had about 9.4 million tourists generating around $6 billion for the year, compared with 11.5 million tourists in 2012 worth about $10 billion.
Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said in late January that 2013 was one of the worst years in tourism, caused mostly by political unrest and security problems spooking foreigners from visiting.
According to Zaazou, Egypt aims to attract 13 million visitors next year and bring in around $11 billion by the end of 2014.
The tourism industry, once worth more than a tenth of economic output, had been rebounding since the 2011 revolution, but suffered a blow after political upheaval in the 2013 summer, which saw Islamist president Mohamed Morsi ousted after mass protests against his rule and driving many countries to warn their nationals not to visit Egypt.
By the end of December, twenty-seven countries worldwide had eased or lifted travel warnings on Egypt.
By Dalia Farouk
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