Tourists to Egypt fall 35 per cent in 2Q2011: Official figures

Ahram Online, Monday 12 Sep 2011

Eastern European visitors fall 46 per cent, Western Europeans by 35 per cent, numbers cushioned by politically-related visits

(Photo: Reuters)

The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the second quarter of 2011 dropped 35 per cent on the same quarter in 2010, according to official figures announced on Monday by CAPMAS, the state statistics agency.

A total of 2.2 million tourists visited the country during the quarter, 42 per cent of which came from Western Europe and 27 per cent from Eastern Europe. Middle Eastern tourists came in third with 17.7 per cent.

The number of Eastern European tourists fell by 46 per cent and Western Europeans by 35 per cent.

These figures could be misleading, tourism experts say, with an upswing in politically-related visits cushioning a large fall in genuine holidaymakers.

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.

The Egyptian minister of tourism recently suspended an earlier decision to make tourists apply for visas in advance.

The minister, Mounir Abdel Nour, said he told the Council of Ministers the decision would have a very negative impact on tourism in Egypt, highlighted by the public outcry that followed the announcement.

Abdel Nour said tourists to Egypt will continue to be able to buy visas upon arrival at Egyptian airports.


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