Tourism revenues in the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2013/2014 are down 66% year on year, registering $1.9bn in revenues, according to a Tuesday statement from the Ministry of Finance.
Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Dimian and Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou met with Elhamy El-Zayat, the head of the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism, Tuesday to discuss “urgent” measures to restore tourism rates to normal levels.
The tourism sector struggled in 2013 after many European and foreign governments warned travel agencies in August 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 instability caused tourism rates to deteriorate by 45.6% in August, compared to the same month the preceding year, after having recorded a 24.5% drop in July when Morsi was deposed.
In the latest tourism report by the state-owned Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), tourist arrival rates registered a 28.9% year on year drop in January.
However, Zaazou, in a positive outlook, said he expected the number of tourists visiting Egypt to increase by 3 million in 2014 to record 12.5 million, as opposed to 9.5 million in 2013, generating $11bn in revenues.
In 2010, which was considered a peak year for the sector, 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt, according to CAPMAS.
During the ministerial meeting, Dimian stressed that the tourism sector is a major contributor in boosting the growth of Egypt’s economy due to generating foreign currency and being a labour-intensive sector.
Meanwhile, Zaazou said the ministry plans to launch a green tourism initiative, which involves visiting natural and environment-friendly areas, according to the statement.