Published on : Thursday, January 7, 2021
Egypt experiences slow return of tourists after witnessing a steep fall in revenue generation in 2020 owing to the pandemic outbreak. The revenue generation dipped to almost 70% to $4 billion in 2020 due to tourism restrictions and lockdown imposed by pandemic. Number of tourists visit to Egypt also reduced remarkably to about 3.5 million in 2020 from 13.1 million in 2019, according to the Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany told Reuters. Foreign occupancy rates in Egyptian hotels dropped to just 10-15% of 2019 levels.
Tourism records about 15% of Egypt’s national output, and is a key source of foreign currency. To attract more tourists and boost economy the officials are unveiling new archaeological discoveries in an effort to revive visitor numbers, and hope the delayed opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum next to the pyramids, expected later this year, will help the sector recover.
Enany mentioned that they focus on the attempt to increase footfall by promoting Egypt as one of the safest tourist destination amidst coronavirus pandemic. And at present out of some 1,200 hotels, 700 have licenses to operate under current health restrictions, he added.
Egypt plans to start COVID-19 vaccinations this month after approving China’s Sinopharm vaccine, but it was unclear how quickly the programme could be rolled out. It is also expected that in 2021 the vaccine introduction will help in recovering the lossopined Mohamed Farouq, chief executive of travel agency Egypt Express. However, it will be slow and take time to recover until this virus is totally controlled.
On Sunday, Egypt’s central bank extended waivers on debt interest payments for tourist companies and other businesses until the end of June. After a second wave of infections in Egypt in December, even bookings that had been postponed were canceled, said Elhamy Mostafa of Emeco Travel.