File photo: Tourists take pictures at the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt received approximately 500,000 tourists during January-March, deputy tourism minister Ghada Shalabi said on Thursday.
Shalabi said in an interview with Sky News Arabia that March saw double the number of tourists that arrived in the country in February.
Tourism revenues amounted for $600-$800 million during the first quarter of 2021, she said.
The tourism sector, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, is a key source of foreign currency for the country.
In January, Egypt’s tourism minister Khaled El-Anany said that around 1.4 million tourists visited Egypt as of December since the reopening of its seaside resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Matrouh to international flights and foreign tourists in July.
A total of 3.4 million tourists visited Egypt in 2020, according to the minister.
Egypt received 13 million tourists in 2019. Before the outbreak, the country was expecting to receive 15 million tourists in 2020.
In June Egypt allowed hotels to operate at reduced occupancy rates of 50 percent and under a range of hygiene procedures, including regular disinfection after closure in March to help stem the virus outbreak.
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 to visit three coastal governorates as part of tour groups.
Egypt has required travellers to present PCR certificates upon departure and arrival since September.