Egypt has received 1.4 million tourists as of December since reopening its seaside resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Matrouh to international flights and foreign tourists last July after a three-month halt over the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 3.4 million tourists visited Egypt throughout 2020, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany said during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Thursday.
Egypt received 13 million tourists in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, the country had expected to receive 15 million tourists in 2020.
El-Anany added that the number of hotels allowed to reopen under anti-coronavirus safety measures across Egypt has risen to 756, having received the hygiene safety certificates required to re-operate.
The number of restaurants and hotels which have been granted the hygiene safety certificate is 1039, the minister noted.
Hotel services in Egypt had been closed to the public since all international flights were suspended in March, along with other drastic measures put in place to contain the pandemic.
Since June, however, Egypt allowed hotels to operate at reduced occupancy rates of 50 percent and under a range of hygiene procedures, including regular disinfection.
To help offset the vital sector’s losses amid the pandemic, Egypt resumed regular international flights at all Egyptian airports in July with foreign tourists allowed into three coastal governorates as part of tour groups.
The tourism sector is an essential source of foreign currency for the country.
Since September, Egypt has required travellers to present PCR certificates upon departure and arrival.
The areas open for foreign tourists are South Sinai, home to the seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; the Red Sea governorate, home to Hurghada and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean.