Egypt’s tourism revenues would have reached $16bn in fiscal year (FY) 2019/20, if not for coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El Said said Monday. Egypt’s tourism revenues are projected to decrease to $11bn in the current FY 2019/20 due to the COVID-19 crisis, she explained.
In late March, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced that tourism sector revenues recorded their highest level ever in Egypt`s history. Revenues were a ground-breaking $13bn in calendar year (CY) 2019, compared to $11.6bn in CY 2018, and the previous peak $12.5bn in CY 2010.
The global tourism sector is currently suffering huge losses due to the spread of the coronavirus, as most countries have put in place travel restrictions.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that international flight would continue to be suspended until 15 April. The flight suspension was originally imposed between 19-31 March, as part of the state’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
Director and Head of Macroeconomic Analysis at EFG Hermes, Mohamed Abo Basha, told Daily News Egypt that he expects Egypt’s tourism revenues to slow down. He projected figures of between $10.5-11bn in FY 2020, down from the original $15bn estimations before the crisis.
Meanwhile, Reham ElDesoki, an independent Cairo-based senior economist, expects a 20-30% drop in Egypt’s tourism revenues in FY 2020 on the back of the coronavirus. She added that the last quarter of the FY is always considered one of the high seasons for Egypt’s tourism.
Elhamy El-Zayat, former chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), said the highly infectious disease has negatively affected the worldwide tourism sector. According to CY 2019 figures, Egypt`s tourism sector achieved an average monthly revenue of roughly $1.3bn, which doubles in the high seasons, he noted.
He also said that March and the first half of April are considered part of the tourism high season, but that this has now been overshadowed by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which will be reflected in a drop in revenues.
El-Zayat believes tourism will return to its normal rates by June 2021, based on updates coming in from around the world. He said that if the Olympic Games and Dubai Expo 2020, among other events, are confirmed to take place as scheduled, people will feel safe to travel.