Egypt’s tourism revenues in 2020 slumped 70% year-on-year (y-o-y) to record $4bn due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, down from $13.03bn in 2019, according to Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani.
Reuters quoted Al-Anani as saying that a total of 3.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2020, compared to 13.1 million in 2019.
“We witnessed a wonderful year in 2019, in terms of numbers and revenues, and also the first two months in 2020 was 8% higher in numbers and revenues, as 2.4 million tourists visited the country,” according to Al-Anani, “The goal currently is not to count the number of tourists, but to say that Egypt is a safe tourist destination in light of the coronavirus crisis.”
Egypt closed hotels in March 2020 as the number of coronavirus cases in the country began to pick up. They were then reopened two months later to domestic tourists, so long as their occupancy capacity did not exceed about 25%. This was later increased, in June 2020, to a maximum occupancy of 50%.
Al-Anani said that hotel occupancies constituted only 10%-15% of the percentage in 2019, adding that his Ministry has signed a contract with a foreign company to create a strategy for promoting tourism in 2021.
“A total of 65% of the tourists who visited Egypt in 2020 came in January and February,” the Tourism Activation Authority announced earlier.
Egypt lost at least $1bn for each month during the travel ban due to the coronavirus, according to the statement. It predicted that the tourism sector’s recovery will commence from March 2021, but that numbers will remain less than those of 2019.