Published January 25, 2013
Hisham Zaazou, the Egyptian Tourism Minister, has announced a 17% increase in 2012 tourists and 13% rise in tourism income when compared to 2011.
He did not give exact figures but the percentage rises suggest 11.5 million tourists came in 2012 and generated $9.9 billion, according to a Reuters calculation. In 2011 the country attracted 9.8 million tourists and brought in US$8.8 billion.
However, the current figures represent a 22% decrease in visitors and 25% less revenue than in 2010, and fall short of the 20% increase in visitors predicted by the minister at the end of 2012.
The country saw a substantial dip in visitor figures following the political uprising of January 2011 that led to the overthrow of then President Hosni Mubarak.
Tourism accounted for an estimated 11% of Egypt’s economy prior to the Arab Spring.
In 2012, the minister said the Muslim Brotherhood’s success in Egypt’s recent presidential elections would not affect the country’s beach tourism and threw his support behind safeguarding established resorts on the Red Sea, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, and restoring the high levels of tourism before the uprising.
“We did better than anyone expected despite the problems we had,” Zaazou said.”We can move close to figures of 2010 by the end of 2013. We hope to pave the way for a comeback.”
The British Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to North Sinai and all but essential travel to parts of South Sinai, with the exception of the Red Sea resorts, including those in Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab.
Rallies and marches are planned in Cairo on January 24-25, 2013 to mark the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.