Despite suffering from an unprecedented slump for three years, Egypt’s tourism sector has shown signs that it could see a modest recovery in 2014, according to Oxford Business Group.
In its report on the country’s tourism industry published on 28 January, Oxford Business Group pointed out that the lifting of travel alerts to Egypt by more than 20 countries will reassure potential visitors and contribute to reviving Egypt’s tourism brand. This will not, however, guarantee a surge in arrivals.
Last August, many European and foreign governments warned its travel agencies to stop selling holiday packages to Egypt amid rising fears of violence after the dispersal of a sit-in held by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.
The number of tourist arrivals to Egypt deteriorated by 45.6% in August, indicating a threat to the country’s main source of foreign currency, after having recorded a 24.5% drop in July when Morsi was deposed.
Although many countries have removed their warnings against Egyptian resorts, they are still advising their citizens to stay away from the main cities, which may witness instability.
However, the report mentioned that November witnessed a jump in tourism rates as 600,000 tourists entered Egypt, registering a hike from the 200,000 who came in September.
Minister of tourism, Hisham Zaazou, said he expects tourism arrivals to record 13.5 million in 2014, generating $11bn in revenues, which the group said “would be the best result for the sector in three years.”
Zaazou said in December tourism earnings were expected to fall to EGP 6.5bn by the end of 2013, a 39% year on year drop. Tourism revenues from January to October 2013 amounted to EGP 5.6bn, according to Zaazou.
According to the report, many hotels, travel agencies and tour companies reduced their prices in an attempt to attract customers, which the report believes could be effective.
Egypt will also need to overcome rising regional competition in the industry, the report said. It mentioned that Israel achieved new records for arrivals in 2013, with entries hitting 3.53 million, and visitors there hailing from traditional Egyptian markets such as the United States, Russia, France and Germany.
The report added that Turkey is also aspiring to post a new record for tourists after registering an increase in 2013.
“Egypt’s comparative advantages in terms of tourism remain attractive, but leveraging them may continue to prove tricky over the short term,” the report said.