Egypt's optimistic: tourism revenue anticipated to grow ten percent in 2016

Published December 20th, 2015 - 11:55 GMT

Egypt’s tourism revenues are expected to grow to between $7.5 and $8 billion next year, as the country works on restoring tourists’ confidence, the country’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Zaazou, said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism in Sharjah, Zaazou said tourism revenues are expected to reach between $6 billion and $7 billion in the current year, down from last year’s $7.2 billion and a sharp drop from the $12.5 billion Egypt earned in 2010.

Tourist numbers are anticipated to grow by 10-15 per cent next year from the expected 8.9 million visitors in 2015, he said. In 2014, 9.9 million people visited the country.

Political and economic unrest in Egypt since 2011’s uprising that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak has hit the country’s once thriving tourism industry.

Then, a Russian plane downed in Sinai in October killing all 224 people on board shook the industry, which was gradually recovering earlier this year.

Britain and Russia, who have both said that the plane was brought down by a bomb, have suspended some flights to Sharm Al Shaikh, where the plane took off from. On Monday, Egypt said that it has found no evidence that terrorism is linked to the crash.

Zaazou said that direct revenue losses from tourism since the plane crash range from $280 million to $300 million.

Egypt is working on restoring confidence of tourists by boosting security and persuading them to return to its cultural sites and beaches, he said.

The government said on Monday that it will appoint an international security firm to enhance security in its airports.

“We are embarking to sign an agreement with a third party on lifting, revising and assessing the standards of security systems available, which we will declare in the next few days,” Zaazou said.

“I believe this will help in regaining the trust and confidence that we need to develop our tourism sector in terms of arrivals,” he added.

In an attempt to lure tourists back to the country, Egypt recently launched a new tourism campaign called “This is Egypt”. The government has added $5 million to its promotions budget, which stands at $23 million for the next three years, Zaazou said, adding “maybe we will add more if needed.”

Zaazou and Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in tourism.

The agreement will help boost tourist numbers between the two countries. Shaikh Nahyan said that the MoU will also promote cooperation in sustainable tourism development, including rural, cultural and marine tourism.

By Sarah Angethami

 

 


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