File Photo: Tourists enjoy a day by the beach and swim in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, south of Cairo, Egypt. REUTERS
The figures were provided by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa during a signing ceremony on Monday between Akam Alrajhi Developments and the IHG Group to manage a hotel in the Egyptian North Coast region.
The minister noted that the country expects a total of 15 million tourists in 2023 – a figure which, if met, would break the 14.7 million record set in 2010.
Egypt, Issa said, aims to attract 30 million tourists per year by 2028, which comes in line with the country's National Tourism Strategy’s increase of 25-30 percent annually.
However, Issa previously indicated in January before the Senate that Egypt currently has the capacity to accommodate only 15 million tourists.
Hence, the country has been working to increase hotel capacity by 500,000 rooms, the minister said in Monday’s speech.
The minister further thanked attendees for their efforts in this regard, asserting that Egypt is worthy of being the number one tourism destination in the world, pointing to its "diverse and unique tourist sites as well as archaeological potential."
Tourism bouncing back
The tourism sector is particularly important for Egypt, as it as an important source of hard currency for the country amid a shortage due to global economic shocks caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine war.
The pandemic caused tourism arrivals in Egypt to drop to 3.7 million in 2020.The Russia-Ukraine war was also damaging for Egypt, as both countries had been among the main exporters of tourists to Egypt in recent years.
However, the industry has bounced back despite the war, receiving approximately 11.7 million tourists in 2022, a 46 percent increase over the eight million arrivals in 2021.
Tourism revenues in Egypt, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), amounted to $4.1 billion for the months of January through October 2022, an increase of 43.5 percent compared to the same period of last year.
This has been achieved due to the efforts Egypt's efforts to revitalize the tourism sector.
Egypt targets EGP 7.4 billion (about $239.4 million) in tourism investment in the current fiscal year, which ends in June, a 19.4 percent increase over the previous year, according to previous remarks by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said.
Egypt has also recently eased visa rules for visitors from China, Iran, India, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria to stimulate the tourism industry.
This came after the ministry announced in January that 180 nationalities can obtain tourist visas on arrival to Egypt provided they have a valid and used visa on their passports for either the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, or the Schengen countries.