Egypt tourism slumps following US terror attacks
The Egyptian tourism ministry has recently announced an 18.2 percent drop in the number of tourists visiting the country in September 2001, as compared with the same month the previous year. Official figures indicated that a total of 371,849 foreigners arrived in Egypt during the month.
While in September 2000 hotel occupancy stood at 72 percent, the figure dropped to 59 percent in September this year, according to the same sources. Tourism Ministry officials forecasted further deterioration by year’s-end. It was predicted that Egypt would lose one billion dollars by the end of the year due to the September terrorist attacks. In 2000, Egypt’s tourism revenues totaled $4.3 billion.
The secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, Francesco Frangialli, told AFP that while worldwide reservations came down by 20 to 30 percent following the attacks, for Middle Eastern destinations such as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and North Africa, they are down by 60 to 70 percent.
In recent interviews to the French and Spanish Television channels, Egypt’s Tourism Minister Mamduh Al-Baltagui reported a high number of cancellations in individual and group visits to Egypt right up to December. He added that Egypt has decided hike up the cost of plane tickets by $3.70 to cover increased insurance premiums.
The tourism minister reaffirmed the stability of the security situation in Egypt and reiterated the authorities' clear stance on condemning all forms of terrorism. The interviews were held in a bid to contain the negative impact of the US-led anti-terror campaign on the world tourism industry.
As part of these efforts, Egypt’s Information Minister Safwat Al-Sharif told the official news agency MENA that the government decided to pay off part of the debts of the carrier EgyptAir. The minister however did not specify the amount.
Egyptian Prime minister Atif Ubaid spoke to investors in the new Al-Salhiya city, saying the government was preparing to cope with the new challenges following the September terror attacks in the USA.
Ubaid mentioned that the cabinet held three meetings to review means to invigorate investments and ease administrative hurdles to launching new projects. Ubeid stated he was optimistic about in regard to boosting the volume of exports and their competitiveness on world markets. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)