Protesters, who oppose Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, flee from teargas released by riot police during clashes along Qasr Al Nil bridge, which leads to Tahrir Square in Cairo (Photo: reuters)
Egypt has fallen to the lowest rank out of 140 countries evaluated in terms of safety and security just behind Pakistan, Chad and Yemen, in the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Travel and Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness index, released last week.
Egypt's overall rank in terms of T&T competitiveness stood at 85 – falling ten spots since 2011 – due to recent political turmoil. According to the index, Egypt has fallen to tenth place in terms of T&T competitiveness on the list of 15 Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.
Security fears have adversely affected Egypt's tourism sector in recent months, especially since the second anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution, which has been followed by months of anti-government protests.
In February, the number of tourists to Egypt – especially those coming from Europe and North America – declined even further due to political unrest, with several western governments advising citizens to exercise caution and avoid large crowds when travelling to Egypt.
The WEF index was released one week after Egypt's worst-ever hot air balloon disaster, which killed 19 foreign tourists in the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor.
In February, Egypt's tourism ministry said that the local tourism industry had incurred losses of around $2.5 billion since the revolution more than two years ago.
The UAE, Qatar, Israel, Bahrain and Oman represent the top five countries in terms of T&T competitiveness in the MENA region, while Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the UK and the US top the global list.