Tourists to Egypt fall 30 per cent in year to June: State figures

Ahram Online, Monday 22 Aug 2011

European visitors slide nearly a third but a range of political factors keep Arab numbers high

Tourists walk inside the Luxor Temple in Luxor city (Photo: Reuters)

The number of tourists visiting Egypt in June dropped almost 30 per cent on the same month in 2010, according to new figures from state statistics agency CAPMAS.

The country saw a total of 732,000 visitors in the sixth month of 2010, down from some 1,029,000 for the same period the year before.
Skittish European tourists led the decline, with visitors from east and west of the continent falling 28.5 and 35.2 per cent respectively.
Arab tourism, however, slid just 0.3 per cent in June, from around 183,000 to 182,000.
This seeming implacibility could be misleading, tourism experts say, with an upswing in politically-related visits cushioning a large fall in genuine holidaymakers.
Last month, Sami Mahmoud, head of the international department at Egypt's Tourism Development Authority, told Ahram Online that the number of Gulf tourists in June had plunged 42 per cent versus the same period in 2010.
While everyone who visits Egypt on a non-working visa is officially classified as a tourist, this year has seen an influx of Libyans fleeing conflict as well as a trickle of Palestinians from Gaza following the partial reopening of the Rafah crossing, all of whom may have topped up the figures.
A report in May by CI Capital Research estimated that tourism revenues for 2011 will reach US$7.6 billion — a 35 per cent drop below those of 2010.
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