Egypt's Minister of Planning Hala El-Said said on Monday that tourism revenues in the current fiscal year (2019/2020) are expected to reach about $11 billion instead of the $16 billion expected before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The minister did note, however, that a degree of growth rate recovery is expected by the second half of the upcoming fiscal year.
The minister's remarks came during a press conference at the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) headquarters in Cairo to review the implications of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy in Egypt and elsewhere.
El-Said noted that the indicators of the Egyptian economy were at their best during the first half of the current fiscal year in terms of economic growth, unemployment, inflation and tourism revenues.
"Egypt reached 5.6 percent economic growth in the first half of the current fiscal year, compared to 5.4 percent in the same period of 2018. The investment rate also increased to 18.5 percent compared to 16.9 percent during the same period," El-Said said.
The Egyptian tourism sector, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, achieved revenues of $13 billion in 2019, a 12 percent increase compared to 2018. The sector had begun to show signs of recovery after the years of political turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising.
In 2015, several countries had banned direct flights to the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh after a Russian plane crashed minutes following takeoff from Sharm El-Sheikh airport, killing all 224 people on board. Many countries resumed air traffic in the following years.
“The current global outbreak of coronavirus has led to a near halt in the tourism and aviation sectors in Egypt,” the minister added.
Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association said that Egypt’s airline industry faces a potential loss in revenue of $1.6 billion and 9.5 million fewer passengers in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.
Egypt has imposed a night-time curfew, banned large public gatherings, and closed schools and universities in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.
The country has also suspended international flights at all airports since 19 March.
So far, the Egyptian Ministry of Health has registered 2,065 cases of coronavirus, including 159 deaths.