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Egypt's tourist numbers drop 41.9 pct in July year-on-year

The state statistics body shows a decline of 60 percent in Russian tourists coming to Egypt

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Aug 2016
Tourism
A picture taken on March 23, 2016 shows a couple of tourists at the beach in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (AFP)
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Tourist numbers in Egypt have dropped by 41.9 percent in July compared with the same month last year, the state's official statistics authority announced on Monday.

About 529,000 tourists arrived in Egypt in July 2016 versus 912,000 in July 2015, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) stated.

The decline was mostly attributed to the 60 percent drop in the Russian tourists visiting Egypt, according to CAPMAS.

Russia was among several countries to suspend passenger flights to Egypt last year. The decision, which was prompted by security concerns, came after a Russian plane carrying 224 people crashed in Sinai after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh airport.

All those on board were killed in the crash, which Islamist militants said they caused by planting a bomb on board. 

Britain suspended its flights to Sharm El-Sheikh after the crash, resulting in a 17.5 percent drop in British tourists in July this year. German and Polish tourists dropped by 10.4 percent and 3.8 percent respectively; both countries suspended flights to Sharm.

Egypt did however see an increase in tourism from Arab countries, with 233,000 tourists in July 2016 compared to 182,000 visitors during the same month last year, marking a 28.1 percent increase.

The downing of the Russian flight was a blow to Egypt's already ailing tourism industry. The number of tourists coming to Egypt dropped by 50 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year, according to Egypt's Tourism Authority.

Receipts from the tourism industry are expected to range between $4 billion to $4.5 billion by end of the current year, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said in July.

Total tourism revenues in 2015 registered $6.1 billion.

A Russian delegation of experts is expected to arrive in Cairo this week to inspect security measures at Egyptian airports amid expectation of a resumption of Russian commercial flights to Egypt in October.

Turkey announced that flights to Sharm El-Sheikh would be resumed in September.

Poland and Germany have both since lifted their restrictions on direct flights to the airport. 

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