Visa halt negatively affects 40% of tourism income: ETF Chairman

Abdel Razek Al-Shuwekhi
4 Min Read
Tourism activity has suffered from losses that neared $10bn over the past four years, with 2010 being the standard to measure the tourism income in Egypt. (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)
Egypt loses 40% of annual tourism income after visa halt (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)
Egypt loses 40% of annual tourism income after visa halt

Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) Elhamy El-Zayat believes stopping individual visas for tourists will negatively impact the flow of tourists to Egypt during the current year.

El-Zayat added that the decision should be revised, saying:  “We were surprised by the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No one expressed intention to make such decision.”

Individual tourism represents 25% of the total annual tourist flow to Egypt and 40% of the total tourism income, according to the former ETF chairman.

The expenses of individual tourists vary from $1,000 to $2,000 a week, whereas tourists that come in groups spend a maximum of $500 a week, said El-Zayat.

Recently, Egypt has been willing to increase the number of individual tourists due to their wealth and interest in classic tourism related to visiting monuments in South Egypt.

Last year, the number of tourists slightly increased by 500,000 tourists reaching 10 million visitors, compared to the 9.5 million tourists arriving in Egypt in 2013.

Last year, Egypt’s tourism revenues increased to $7.5bn compared to $5.9bn during the previous year, according to El-Zayat.  However, he believes that this does not reflect the potential of the sector in Egypt in light of its true huge capabilities.

According to the Sub-Accounts Unit at the Ministry of Tourism, there are 3.8 million workers in the sector. The majority of the hotel capacity in Egypt is on the Red Sea and in South Sinai, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Next Tuesday, Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism will finish the formation of its bureau, according to El-Zayat. He added that he intends to run for the presidency of the federation at its current session, which will last for four years.

El-Zayat said the Federation’s current board of directors is facing a big business agenda in the absence of any recovery in the tourism sector up to the present time.

“Restoring tourist activity is not limited to the Ministry of Tourism or the Federation’s efforts, as it should be in the form of interrelated efforts of all state agencies,” according to El-Zayat, who served as chairman of the Federation during its last session.

The training issue is within the topics of the Federation’s agenda after forming the bureau, said El-Zayat.

The Federation is willing to make good use of its assets through training sessions, which would help increase its profits especially through training tour bus drivers in 15th of May City.

“The advantages of this centre will not be limited to tour bus drivers only,” El-Zayat said. “In fact, we hope that it would extend to the public transport drivers, petroleum and all other activities including private vehicles as well.”

The activity requires legislative amendments in light of the new updates of the activity in the past five years. The current council will send its own opinion regarding those amendments to Minister of Tourism Khaled Rami.

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