It looks like Egypt is finally getting some good news. Tourism across the country is finally starting to look up a bit for 2014. According to the Oxford Business Group, the travel market in Egypt is showing some signs of life again.
When the first revolution to push out dictator Hosni Mubarak began more than three years ago, much of Egypt’s tourism market began to crumble. According to the Oxford Business Group’s report published on January 28, Egypt’s longtime slump in tourism might finally being showing signs of life again.
With General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi gearing up for a possible presidential term, many Egyptians are feeling increasingly confident in the future of security within Egypt.
Many Egyptians who have incomes that depend on revenue from souvenir shops and tours catering to foreigners have been hard hit by revolution. A large number of them have had to close up their shops and look for other sources of income.
The rare tourist groups who wander into the Giza Pyramids are overwhelmed by desperate vendors. Tour buses that venture down to Red Sea resorts now move in armed conveys.
Before the revolution, Egypt was bring in approximately $11.6 billion per year in tourism. From 2012 to 2013 that number dropped to $9.75 billion. After the 2013 uprising that ousted President Mohammed Morsi Egytpain, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou announced that tourism had fallen by a full 45 percent.
Newspapers across the world have been packed with grim news for years now and the international audience is paying attention. After a long round of news articles full of violence and chaos, travelers have been avoiding the once popular destination.
Fortunately for those in the Egyptian tourism market, more than 20 countries have lifted travel alerts for their citizens. Just within 2013, the numbers improved slightly. During September, 200,000 travelers visited Egypt. During November, Egypt saw 600,000 visitors. Those already increasing numbers mean that Egypt is already getting some good news on the tourism front.
Zaazou has announced that he is expecting approximately 13.5 million tourists to arrive in 2014. These visitors will generate about $11 billion for the country. If Zaazou’s estimate ends up being accurate, that will put Egypt’s numbers at the highest level for the past three years.
Egypt has long relied on tourists from the United States, Russia, France and Germany. Other areas in the region, however, are seeing an increase in tourists from these countries. Israel and Turkey, in particular, have seen record numbers of tourists as rates in Egypt have fallen.
As more and more negative news stories hit the international press, however, the majority of Egypt’s potential tourist market is feeling uncertain. Just last week, the Museum of Islamic Art was bombed along with the Egyptian National Library and a courthouse in central Cairo. Another bomb went off in Giza and a third went off in Dokki, a city near Cairo.
While many nations have lifted travel warnings, many advisories are still in place. Before the anniversary on January 25, many countries issued additional advisories. The advisories, however, are a relief to the tourism industry when compared to the actual warnings that had been in place.
Prior to the eased restrictions, many countries had advised again all non-essential travel across the whole of Egypt. With those warnings finally beginning to look a bit less dire, Egypt is finally getting some good news for potential future tourism.
By Nicci Mende