Egypt’s cultural tourism will not recover before October 2021 if no vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was found, Ehab Abdel Aal, Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association, has told Daily News Egypt.
He attributed this possibility to the current low demand for international travel, and the second wave of new coronavirus infections that has hit Europe.
“If a vaccine is found and the pandemic is over, the recovery would happen within only two months, as the world is looking forward to travelling to Egypt, and workers in Egypt’s cultural tourism sector are ready to receive tourists again,” Abdel Aal said.
Egypt suspended international flights at all airports nationwide on 19 March, as part of government efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In the first stage of resumed tourism in the country, inbound tourism flights restarted on 1 July to the three governorates of the Red Sea, South Sinai, and Matrouh. Tourism activities to Luxor and Aswan resumed in early September, and Nile cruises resumed in October.
Abdel Aal said that occupancy rates currently on Luxor and Aswan Nile cruises are limited, due to the second wave of COVID-19 infections that has recently started in Europe. He also said that the majority of tourists arriving in Egypt are coming from Eastern Europe, and from some countries in Latin America.
He noted the importance of cultural tourism and Nile cruises to Egypt’s tourism sector, with cultural tourism accounting for 35% of the country’s tourism income. This form of tourism attracts high-spending visitors, and is characterised by the length of stay, as most cultural tourism programmes take more than one week.
Abdel Aal added that Nile cruises are the main reason for cultural tourists visiting Egypt, accounting for 80% of these visitors.