Egypt tourism report – Q2 2010


The tourism sector appears to have emerged from the relatively sharp downturn that occurred in the first nine months of 2009. Official data show that foreign tourist arrivals declined by 2.3% year-on-year (y-oy) in 2009 to an estimated 12.4mn people. This is better than was generally anticipated and reflects positive y-o-y growth in arrivals in Q409. There was
general improvement over the course of the year: the sector experienced negative growth in arrivals of -12% y-o-y in Q109, -8.7% y-o-y in H109 and -5.4% yo- y in the 9M09). Tourism revenue declined by just 2% y-o-y in 2009, after sharp falls in revenue of 17% and 9.5% y-o-y in Q109 and H109 respectively. This relatively favourable outturn can be partly attributed to the Ministry of Tourism introducing a number of measures early in 2009 to assist the sector.

Bird Flu Update

As of February 2010, Egypt had confirmed 30 human deaths caused by the H5N1 virus (bird flu), up from 27 since our previous report, out of 99 (previously 88) known human infections in the country – the largest number outside Asia. The data also show that infections have been on the rise, particularly among young children, with 39 people infected during 2009. Investigations into the source of infection in the most recent cases again said the source was exposure to sick and dead poultry.

Forecast Scenario

After negative annual growth in foreign visitor arrivals in 2009, due to recession in key source markets, especially the eurozone, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and the UK, we believe the sector will rebound in 2010, although conditions will remain tough. In line with signs of tourism recovery in Q409, we have revised up our growth forecast for foreign visitor arrivals in 2010 to 5% y-o-y, followed by stronger growth from 2011 as economic recovery in key source markets gets under way. After some weakness of the Egyptian pound in 2009, which helped the country’s competitiveness as a tourist destination, we forecast modest appreciation of the pound against the euro and the US dollar during 2010 and 2011, eroding some of the tourism sector’s competitiveness. In this context, the continuing relatively high consumer price inflation, although forecast to fall, is a short-term worry for the tourism industry. Inflation reversed its downward trend to 13.2% y-o-y in December 2009.