Egypt tourism continues winning streak, releases 2008 projections


Egypt’s tourism sector is looking forward to a positive rest of the year after reporting that Egypt generated over 100 million tourist nights and $ 9.5 billion in tourism revenues since early this year.

Egyptian Deputy Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou has said income from tourism has seen a sharp increase in the last two quarters. “Egypt has shown unique tourist arrival position by being a number one destination for tourism in the Middle East, North Africa and Africa itself. This only shows that international tour operators feel some stake ownership and participation in the destination itself. Their shareholding of our tourism economy guarantees the continuity and sustainability of the industry in the coming years,” he said.

The height of Arabian tourism for Egypt constitutes some 20 percent of regional arrivals, showing 11.1 million tourist arrivals in Egypt since the beginning of the year till first quarter 2008. The country has invested over 80 billion Egyptian pounds in the industry. “Investments are currently growing while we continue to invite investors to bring in their business in unique opportunities whether in tourism or any complementing sectors serviced by it or any related activities such as restaurant and bars. Egypt is open for business,” said Zaazou.

International arrivals have increased in Egypt as reported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization with numbers pushed up to 8.5 percent of worldwide international arrivals calculated by the UNWTO at 50 million total last year for the destination. This share reflects, according to Zaazou, an incredible achievement by Egypt’s tourist trade in 2007.

He said the public and private sector partnership participating in the industry has done well this recent period showing that competition will be fiercer and definitely neck-and-neck in the years ahead.

In view of industry expectations of Egyptian Tourism Minister Zoheir Gharana, Egypt may reach a total of 14 million arrivals by 2010/2011. Zaazou also said the United Arab Emirates has invested $4 billion in the Egyptian tourism sector, which accounts for 30 percent of total Arab investment in the country.

Zaazou, the country’s first assistant tourism minister, confirmed the tourism sector comprises 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 19.3 percent of the total investment made in foreign currencies.

Egypt was in the lead of the Middle Eastern region, here 11.1 million tourists visited the country, as opposed to 9 million in 2006; marking a significant 22.1 percent increase. Consequently, and according to the Central Bank of Egypt, tourism revenues reached US$9.4 million in 2007.

Russia was the number one source market in 2007, with arrivals reaching 1.5 million, beating Germany and the UK, whose numbers well exceeded 1 million tourists in 2007. Italy followed with 983,000, and France stood at 464,000 tourists. As for the arrivals to Egypt from the Middle East, they reached an approximate 2 million tourists, topped with Libya at 439,000, followed by Saudi Arabia at 412,000. Arrivals from the Ukraine reached 358,000, followed by Poland with 335,000, and
the 10th on the list of tourist arrivals was the United States with 272,000 tourists arriving to Egypt.

Egypt enjoyed double-digit revenue per available room (often referred to as revPAR) growth in every market, the tourism ministry reported.

(US$1.00=5.31957 Egyptian pounds)