Egypt’s tourism sector could continue to face challenges in the short and medium terms in returning to pre-pandemic growth levels if there are any delays in deploying vaccination programs both on the local and international levels, according to Mohamed Kaoud, the president of the Tourism and Aviation Committee at the Egyptian Junior Business Association.
In a statement released by the committee on Thursday, Kaoud said that the tourism sector is still one of the Egyptian economy’s main pillars that made revenues of $4 billion in 2020, despite falling from $13.03 billion in 2019 because of the pandemic.
The country also received about 3.5 million tourists in 2020, compared to 13 million in 2019 as a result, Kaoud said.
According to Kaoud, there are three scenarios set by the World Tourism Organisation projecting a bounce back in travel and tourism in mid 2023, end 2023, and/or end 2024.
Accordingly, countries started adopting strategies that meet challenges to overcome current difficulties.
He added that despite Egypt’s tourism minister having expected the country to regain its pre pandemic levels by Autumn 2022, it would be very challenging, as the country still behind other countries in the region and globally that acted faster and more efficiently than Egypt.
“There were very few countries that actually managed to handle the situation and drive business to their countries; the UAE, Tanzania, and the Maldives were marked as one of the most successful tourism stories amid the pandemic. It is not impossible, but we need to act fast and cope with other countries”, according to Kaoud.
Dealing with the current challenges, Kaoud urged the ministries of health and tourism to work on a joint venture regarding a vaccination program for the approximately one million employees in the tourism and hospitality sector at a charge to ease the burden from the government, especially that Egypt is supposed to receive 40 million doses of the vaccine that will cover 20 percent of the country’s population.
He added that Egypt is currently in a joint venture with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development that includes safety, hygiene protocols, and tailor-made training plans to the hospitality sector.
“These programs must be implemented fast and in an organised manner”, he added.
He added that Egypt has a significant opportunity, as countries around the world have been more cautious about reopening, which means that tourists had few options for places to go.
“Tourists are traveling less frequently, but for longer and with more purpose. The fact that most people were going digital-only for work and school, the resorts devised a special package for guests staying a full month offering meals, high-speed internet, wellness activities, and the use of a kids’ club, and is priced at $42,600 for a family of four.”
“Others, selling ‘all you can stay’ packages for unlimited bookings for up to a year at a cost of $30,000. Another luxurious property promoted a ‘workation’ package priced from $23,250 for seven days”, Kaoud said.