Number of August tourists in Egypt down 45pct against 2015; experts optimistic for 2017

Ahram Online , Dalia Farouq , Sunday 9 Oct 2016

However, tourism experts expect numbers to rise soon - expecting more European countries to resume flights to Sharm El-Sheikh and other Egyptian destinations - as Cairo makes progress on airport security provisions

File Photo: Tourists swim in the sea in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, November 7, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

The number of tourists visiting Egypt declined 45 percent in August 2016 compared to the same month last year, as the number of Russian holidayers in the country remains more than halved, state's official statistics body CAPMAS announced on Sunday.

The total number of tourists who arrived in Egypt during August registered 503,000, 47 percent of whom came from Arab countries, CAPMAS said in an e-mailed press release.

The number of tourists who visited Egypt in August 2015 was 915,200.

The average stay of a tourist reached 6.4 nights during August 2016 versus 9 nights during the same month in 2015, CAPMAS said.

Russians, who represent the largest single tourist group in Egypt - along with other European vacationers - have shifted their touristic destination from Egypt since December 2015 due to security concerns following the deadly crash of a Russian jet minutes after taking off from the airport at the Sinai resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

All 224 people on board were killed in that crash, which was claimed by Islamist militants

In Late September, Russia's Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said that Egyptian authorities are making headway in resolving Russia's concerns over flight safety out of Egypt.

Russian officials have conducted several airport safety inspections in Egypt over the past months.

Poland and Turkey have already resumed flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, while Germany decided last May to ease restrictions on flights between its airports and the Egyptian resort.

Adel Zaki, a travel agent, told Ahram Online that the return of Turkish flights to Sharm El Sheikh last September signalled a promising start for this winter season, as Turks represent a large percentage of travel agents in Europe.

"The Turkish plane that arrived in Sharm El Sheikh last September carried mostly Russian tourists," Zaki said.

He added that the Russian travel company Aeroflot's resumption of operations in its office at Cairo International Airport is also a good sign for the return of Russian flights, which is expected by 2017.

Omaima ِAl-Husseiny, the media adviser to the tourism minister, expects that German flights to Sharm El-Sheikh would return soon, after the resumption of German charter flights to Upper Egypt's Luxor.

Al-Husseiny told Ahram Online that Luxor received four direct flights from Germany last week.

The country’s revenues from tourism dropped by 48.9 percent to $3.8 billion in 2015/16 from $7.4 billion in 2014/15, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced last month.
Receipts from the tourism industry are expected to range between $4 billion to $4.5 billion by end of the current year, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said in July. 

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