Published on : Friday, June 17, 2022
Egypt is in search of to improve Arab tourism from the Gulf at a time when the important tourism sector has struggled to overcome the setback it suffered with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The struggle that broke out between Russia and Ukraine in February has hindered the conventional inflow of vacationers from the 2 nations, whereas they constituted a few third of the entire variety of vacationers who flocked to Egypt yearly.
Tourism, together with the revenues of the Suez Canal and the remittances of staff overseas, constitutes one of many predominant sources of overseas forex within the nation, which has been weighed down by the stress of the struggle in Ukraine on its financial system, because it struggles with an unprecedented wave of inflation.
Egypt adopted harsh measures in an try to overcome the repercussions of the struggle, together with the devaluation of the native forex by 15% in March.
It additionally resorted to the International Monetary Fund to search an emergency help program to handle the present financial disaster.
In late April, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism launched a promotional marketing campaign on social media — titled “Your vacation in Egypt” — to entice overseas guests who’re planning a summer time trip overseas.
The marketing campaign primarily targets Arab markets exporting tourism to Egypt, together with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Jordan.
Amr el-Kady, CEO of the General Authority for Tourism Activation affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism, stated in an announcement that the marketing campaign additionally goals to revitalize home tourism.
Egypt had launched the same marketing campaign in March referred to as “Follow the Sun,” to entice vacationers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and the United States.
Tourism officers in Egypt anticipate the struggle in Ukraine to hinder progress within the sector’s revenues. Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby stated in an April 18 interview with Bloomberg that expectations for Egyptian tourism in 2022 aren’t larger than final 12 months, with out mentioning any estimates.
Shalaby famous that the federal government is trying to entice vacationers from India, Pakistan, Morocco, Algeria and Gulf nations together with Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.
Data printed by the Ministry of Tourism in July 2021 point out that about 20% of the vacationers who used to go to Egypt earlier than the coronavirus pandemic got here from Arab nations.
Saudi Arabia comes first, adopted by Kuwait and the UAE.
In 2021, Egypt achieved tourism revenues that exceeded $13 billion, bringing again pre-pandemic ranges, in accordance to the ministry knowledge.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani had revealed in January 2021 that 3.5 million vacationers introduced in $4 billion of tourism revenues in 2020, marking a 70% decline from 2019, when tourism revenues reached $13.03 billion, with greater than 13 million vacationers visiting the nation that 12 months.
Magdy Salim, former official within the Ministry of Tourism, expects inbound tourism to Egypt to drop by 50% in contrast to 2021.
He informed Al-Monitor over the cellphone that this share would possibly nonetheless improve because the long-term results of the coronavirus pandemic are nonetheless being felt.
Egypt hoped that its tourism sector could be lively this 12 months, coinciding with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in most nations.
However, the Russian struggle on Ukraine has elevated the burdens on tourism, which is without doubt one of the most vital sources of nationwide earnings for Egypt.
In 2019, Ukraine had the second-largest variety of vacationers visiting Egypt, accounting for 1.6 million guests and recording a rise of 32% from 2018.
More than 727,000 Ukrainian vacationers entered Egypt in 2020, in accordance to the Ukrainian Embassy in Cairo, constituting 21% of the entire variety of overseas vacationers who visited Egypt in that 12 months.
According to the Ukrainian State Agency for Tourism, 1.46 million Ukrainians travelled to Egypt in 2021, making Egypt their second-most in style vacationer vacation spot after Turkey.
Salim famous that the tourism sector has been drastically affected by the suspension of incoming Ukrainian tourism, which has been rising considerably in recent times, ruling out the return of Ukrainian tourism within the foreseeable future to pre-war ranges.
Meanwhile, Russia has at all times been on the forefront of the exporting markets for vacationers to Egypt.
Nearly 3 million Russian vacationers visited Egypt in 2014, earlier than Moscow imposed a ban on direct flights to Egyptian vacationer locations following the crash of a Russian constitution aircraft upon takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh in 2015, which killed all 224 individuals on board.
In July 2021, Russia lifted the ban on constitution flights to and from Egypt. Since then, 700,000 Russians visited Egypt till the tip of 2021, with 125,000 Russian vacationers coming into the nation within the first two weeks of 2022, in accordance to Russian Ambassador to Cairo Georgy Borisenko.
To revive inbound tourism, the Egyptian authorities began early April to implement a facilitation package deal for vacationer visas permitting entry to the nation.
The package deal included, for the primary time, granting foreigners coming to the nation an emergency entry visa on the numerous arrival terminals, supplied that they maintain entry visas for Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Schengen nations.
On March 22, the federal government additionally agreed to lengthen the constitution flight stimulus program till the tip of October.
The program, which goals to assist tourism, permits airways to acquire money incentives starting from $1,500 to $3,500 per flight. It was supposed to finish late April, however this system will now proceed to function till the tip of October.
A supply within the Ministry of Tourism acknowledged on situation of anonymity that the tourism sector won’t totally get better earlier than 2025.
The supply stated that the ministry has a long-term plan to goal new vacationer markets, particularly from Latin America and East Asia, with the rise within the quantity of inbound tourism from the Gulf nations in an try to bridge the hole created by the Russian struggle and, earlier than it, the coronavirus pandemic.
Egypt was one of many first nations to open its doorways to vacationers in July 2020 amid the implementation of strict precautionary measures in a determined try to save the tourism sector, whose revenues dropped by about 70% throughout the identical 12 months due to the pandemic and the next closure of vacationer services and lodges, journey restrictions and lockdowns that affected all the world.
The pandemic led to a lower within the lodge occupancy fee in Egypt by about 60% in 2020, which triggered losses of about $14 billion, in accordance to Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait.
However, tourism staff hope that efficiency will step by step enhance and that some losses might be compensated with the resumption of flights between Moscow and Cairo, after a brief halt due to the struggle, as well as to restricted flights between Russia and the Red Sea resorts.
Shalaby stated the announcement of recent worldwide flights to Sharm el-Sheikh within the Red Sea might enhance tourism revenues as nicely.
Egypt welcomed April 17 the primary direct flight between Sharm el-Sheikh and Tel Aviv, as a part of an settlement reached between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in March.
In early April, 300 Russian vacationers arrived in Hurghada, the primary arrival for the reason that begin of the Russian struggle on Ukraine.
Russian corporations are additionally anticipated to improve the variety of flights to Egypt, coinciding with the choice of authorities in Moscow to carry COVID-19 restrictions on common and constitution flights to 52 “friendly” nations, together with Egypt.
In addition to the resorts in Sinai overlooking the Red Sea, which is legendary for its coral reefs, Egypt is getting ready to open the Grand Egyptian Museum within the final quarter of 2022.
Egypt is counting on this 20 billion Egyptian pound (about $1 billion) undertaking to revive the tourism sector, with greater than 100,000 antiquities, together with 5,000 items throughout the Tutankhamun assortment, displayed on the museum.
It is important to knock on all doorways to revive tourism, which straight impacts the two million individuals working within the sector, Salim concluded.