Tourists to Egypt drop 19 per cent in July, but decline slows

Dalia Farouk, Wednesday 10 Aug 2011

Visitors are down a fifth on the same month in 2010, but as the monthly falls slow, tourism officials are predicting a substantial recovery by the October start of the winter season

Tourists ride on horse carts in the southern city of Luxor (Photo: Reuters)

The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the month of July 2011 is down 19 per cent on the same month last year, according to the vice president of the Tourism Development Authority.

Sami Mahmoud explained that the rate of decline in tourist numbers has been steadily diminishing. Decline was at its highest in February, when it was down 80 per cent on the year before, reflecting the impact of Egypt's popular uprising. In May the annual drop in tourist numbers was 35 per cent.

Egyptian tourism looks like falling more than 25 per cent in 2011, according to data released by CAPMAS in June, which predicted visitor numbers of under 11 million, down from 14.8 million in 2010.

Accordingly, annual tourism revenue may also drop to US$10 billion, down from $12.5 billion in 2010.

Mahmoud predicted that the tourism sector will largely recover by October, the beginning of the winter season.

He expects that tourism in the south Sinai resort of Sharm El-Sheikh will be the fastest to regain momentum following the departure of the former president Hosni Mubarak from the city last week. 

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