Early indications are that Egypt’s tourism industry will make a full recovery sooner than expected and even surpass its previous numbers in the years to come.
Political turmoil, civil unrest, and the aftereffects of the pandemic are all hurdles to overcome but Egypt’s Chamber of Tourism is facing these challenges head-on.
Egypt has favorable visa conditions for many visitors and boasts world-class and affordable attractions and accommodations; everything one desires in a prospective holiday destination.
Positive figures for Egyptian tourism in 2022
The first quarter of the 2022-2023 financial year showed significant growth in Egypt’s tourism revenue.
The first half of the year brought 4.9 million visitors to Egypt, an impressive 85.4% increase from the same period in 2021.
“The 2022 figure for Egyptian tourism is not surprising, since it is the result of a firm plan for the development of the sector, based on the diversification of the tourism product and the promotional campaigns launched in different markets and supported by the highest authority in the country. But we must always remember that security and stability remain the keywords for the resumption of tourist flows to Egypt,” said Ahmed Sarwat, a member of the Chamber of Tourism.
“By the end of 2022, Egypt is expected to attract a total of about 13 million tourists. It will thus reach the figures recorded in 2019 with 13.1 million travelers visiting the country and revenues that had reached a record level of $13.03 billion,” he continued.
Egypt is looking to attract 30 million tourists in the next 5 years and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa is expecting a year-on-year growth of 25%.
“We need just 300,000 rooms, $30 billion of investments in rooms, and probably similar amounts of investments in customer experiences. Spread the word — and it is a great industry to invest in,” he said when addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.
Latest changes in Egypt’s tourism market
The war in Ukraine has had a major effect on Egypt’s tourism due to both Russia and Ukraine being some of the top source markets.
In October 2022, flights between Russia and Hurghada and Sharm Al-Sheikh continued when Russian airline Aeroflot returned to its flight schedule.
There has also been a huge gap in the market as there have been no Chinese tourists for the past three years.
The first tour group from China arrived in Egypt at the beginning of January 2023 and the Egyptian Vice Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Ghada Shalaby, greeted the tourists at the airport.
There will be 13 flights a week between China and Egypt from March: 3 to Hangzhou, 3 to Beijing, and 7 to Guangzhou.
Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang was also present at the welcome and thanked the Egyptian government for their warm welcome.
“It is believed that in the near future, the number of Chinese tourists and flights to Egypt will return to the pre-epidemic level,” he said.
Tourism opportunities for Egypt in 2023
One of the biggest events on the 2023 tourism calendar for Egypt is the long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.
The museum has a massive floor space of 300,000 square meters, one of the largest in the world, and the only one of its kind to be eco-friendly.
The museum’s construction has faced many delays but its 2023 opening is set to be legendary, fit for the Pharos.
There are more than 100,000 artifacts in the museum and the main attraction is a 3,200-year-old, 83-ton statue of Rameses II.
Eco-tourism is also set to tap into a new market for Egypt and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Environment have banded together to launch a ground-breaking sustainability effort.
Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Egypt’s Tourism (MBDT) is a Global Environment Facility funded-project that is working hard to reduce the negative impact of tourism and raise awareness in the sector.
ECO EGYPT, a project by MBDT, launched a Green List that contains the names of hotels, products, eco-lodges, and diving centers that are adopting sustainable practices or that have achieved an eco-label.
Lina Challita, Environmental Affairs Coordinator at the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports explained her excitement about the initiative.
“The Egyptian diving and water sports industry is based on a vibrant and healthy Red Sea; protecting our marine ecosystems is key to its’ survival. We are proud of the sustainable practices taken by our Green Fins members as they are role models in how tourism activities can participate in marine conservation.”
Egypt is classified as a “Low-Cost Mass Tourism Magnet” which poses difficulties in the sphere of sustainable travel but these efforts are a huge step in the right direction.
As Africa’s top tourist destination, Egypt is seeking to be a role model for other countries and pave the way for sustainable tourism on the continent.