Egypt to draw more tourists this year as security situation improves

Egypt expects to increase tourism numbers by 3 million this year as the security situation improves in the country.

Tourism, which once provided 11.3 per cent of the GDP for Egypt, attracted 9.9 million guests last year, down from 14.7 million during its record year in 2010. It expects to receive 20 million tourists by 2020.

By 2016, the tourism minister expects to surpass the 2010 figures.

“We have always been back, in the tourist areas we have no security issues at all,” said Khaled Ramy, Egypt’s tourism minister. “There are more [security personnel] in these areas.”

It is also trying to reposition itself away from package tourism and dependance on charter flights by promoting itself to honeymooners and environmental tourists.

This year, the ministry has a total marketing budget of around US$70 million to promote the destination.

With its dam and Pharaonic temples, Aswan suffered one of the worst spates of low tourism following the Arab Spring uprising. Aswan, which employs around 200 tour guides, saw a near 100 per cent unemployment rate related to tourism in 2013 due to the uprising. Last year it was down to 40 per cent and this year, the governor is expecting a 30 per cent unemployment rate.

“Asian tourism was a large factor in the recovery,” said Moustafa Yosri, the Aswan governor.

“There is an overall impact on tourism as a result of damage to the reputation due to the happenings, but last year we saw a 40 per cent occupancy rate in Aswan and that is a positive sign,” said the governor.

To diversify from package and cultural tourism, the province is looking at innovative ways such as more airlines flying to Aswan and Luxor airports, and promoting ecological tourism.

In Dubai, hotels are feeling the pinch of the recovery of Egypt.

“It’s like having more opportunities for tourists to go to,” said Omer Kaddouri, the president and chief executive of Rotana.

Luxor, which also offers cultural tourism, expects to see a 21 per cent occupancy rate for the full year, with room rates at $44, according to consultancy Colliers. That is compared to 52 per cent occupancy in Cairo with room rates at $127.

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