Minister: Egypt tourism unlikely to be hurt by European debt crisis


Egypt’s tourism industry is unlikely to be hurt this year by Europe’s debt crisis, Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah said.

The impact may show “starting next year,” Garranah said in an interview today in Cairo. Of all European tourists visiting Egypt, 70 percent come from countries that use the euro, the minister said.

Egypt’s economy depends on tourism, foreign direct investment and revenue from the Suez Canal for foreign currency. Tourism, which accounts for 12.6 percent of jobs, brought in $10.76 billion in revenue last year, according to the ministry.

The common currency has dropped 11 percent against the Egyptian pound and 14 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, according to Bloomberg data. The euro will weaken against the dollar after the region’s governments took steps to lower their budget deficits and while the U.S. continues with a policy of fiscal stimulus, BNP Paribas SA said in a report today.

Egypt recorded a 24 percent increase in tourism revenue to $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2010 as the industry recovered from last year’s global financial crisis, Garranah said in an interview on April 15.

Besides its historical attractions such as the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt also draws tourists seeking sun, sand and diving along its Red Sea coast and in the Sinai Peninsula.