Egypt’s share of global tourism grew by 33% in 2023: Minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Jan 2024

Egypt’s share of global tourism grew by 33 percent in 2023 compared to four years prior, recording 1.2 percent in 2023, up from 0.9 percent in 2019, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa told a senate session on Sunday.

Hot air balloons
Hot air balloons carrying tourists fly over the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor, Egypt. Photo: AP

 

Issa said Egypt is pressing ahead with plans to enhance hotel capacity nationwide to meet the projected accommodation demands in the coming years as it seeks to increase the number of incoming tourists to 30 million by 2028.

The country has increased the number of hotel rooms to 220,000 in 2023, up from 200.000 a year prior, said Issa, noting that the increase will help accommodate the tourists that Egypt targets to attract this year.

Incoming tourism to Egypt hit a record-breaking 14.9 million tourists in 2023, including 3.6 million tourists visiting the country in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Egypt's previous record for incoming tourism was 14.7 million tourists in 2010.

Issa said Egypt previously had 23,000 closed hotel rooms, but the figure decreased during 2023 to 19,000 as a result of the increasing demand for Egyptian destinations amid improved economics of hotel establishments.

He encouraged the private sector to pump new investments in the tourism field to provide more hotel rooms, noting that a package of hotel investment incentives would be effectuated within a few days.

The package, Issa said, aims to stimulate the rapid growth of hotel capacity in Egypt and stimulate investors to participate in either completing the construction of or operating these new hotel facilities by early 2026.

The tourism minister said Egypt has a distinctive edge over other global destinations due to its competitive and diversified offers, including cultural, beach and recreational, family, and adventure tourism.

About 20 percent of the existing hotel capacity in Egypt holds green certificates, as has been the case for 44 diving and safari centres, Vice Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Tourism Affairs Ghada Shalaby said during the same session.

Egypt’s tourism revenues hit a record high of $13.6 billion in FY2022/2023, up 26.8 percent from $10.7 billion in FY2021/2022.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s key sources of foreign currency, along with remittances from Egyptians abroad, the Suez Canal, and foreign direct investments.

The country’s tourism sector received a blow when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020.

In FY2020/2021, tourism revenues dropped by 50.71 percent, reaching $4.86 billion, down from $9.86 billion in FY2019/2020, but started to rise again in FY2020/2021.

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