Tourism to Egypt down 46 per cent in first quarter

Reuters, Sunday 22 May 2011

Figures from state agency show a steep decline in industry that is a major source of foreign currency

At the Pyramids
Underworked and over here - tourism fell by nearly half (Photo: Reuters)

The number of tourists visiting Egypt slumped 46 per cent in the first quarter when mass protests ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the government's statistics agency said on Sunday.

The unrest that began on 25 January prompted embassies to issue travel warnings and many tour groups cancelled trips, throwing an industry that is a major source of foreign currency into crisis.

Foreign reserves fell to US$28 billion in April, the lowest in four years.

"The tourism industry is still affected by the recent events in Egypt causing a great decline in the number of tourists ... which reached 1.9 million tourists," the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said.

Egypt's economy contracted an estimated 7 per cent in the January-March quarter. The International Monetary Fund has projected growth of 1.0 per cent this year, down from 5.1 per cent in 2010.

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