By Doaa Farid
The number of tourist arrivals to Egypt in August decreased by 45.6%, totaling 564.517 tourists in August 2013, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Tourism rates in July also decreased 24.5% year on year totaling 765,000, compared to 1 million arriving in July 2012.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou pointed out at the end of September that the tourism rate took an 80% hit since the 14 August dispersal of sit-ins held by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi. He added in a televised interview on CBC that tourism rate in July and the first half of August had fallen 45% from normal levels, with the value of the losses from July until present amounting to approximately $1bn.
Zaazou announced that 12 countries have lifted their travel alerts on Egypt, “Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Sweden and Norway are among the countries that lifted the travel alerts,” he said, adding that many bookings are expected after Eid El-Adha from Gulf countries, and expressed his expectation that the crisis would ease soon.
After the dispersal of sit-ins, the governments of Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Sweden and Italy warned travel agencies to stop selling holiday packages to Egypt amid fears of violence.
The monthly report showed that the largest number share of August tourists came from Europe, 74.7% down from 82.3% in July. Meanwhile, tourists from Arab countries increased to 18.1% compared to 11.8% in July.
Zaazou said the ministry had decided to focus its efforts on “restoring those two main sources of tourism and creating a positive image.”
According to the report, 488,117 tourists arrived by air in August, while 54,756 tourists came overland.
The average spending per tourist has fallen from $85 to $64 per day, according to Zaazou.
A previous report by CAPMAS published in July showed that the total number of nights spent by tourists in Egypt decreased 40.1% year on year last July, totaling 6.8 million, compared to 11.4 million in 2012.