Egypt has welcomed seven million tourists in the first half of this year, putting the country on track for its projected 15 million visitors in 2023.
After reaching a record 13 million tourists and earning 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, Egypt's tourism industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week the country's statistical arm, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, released figures from the 2021-2022 fiscal year, showing outstanding year-on- year growth. Egypt received 11.7 million tourists, up from eight million in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
While the number of tourists increased by more than 46 percent, revenues spiked 121 percent to amass 10.7 billion U.S. dollars for the North African state.
"The sharp drop in the Egyptian pound exchange rates to foreign currencies in addition to the economic recovery in developed countries following the Russia-Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 have helped to give tourism that push," said Samar Adel, an economic researcher at Al Ahram Academy.
Europeans made up more than 62 percent of Egypt's tourists to lead the 2022 charts, while Arabs came second at 26 percent. The outstanding figures reported were supported by an additional 35 percent increase in the number of visitors to reach seven million tourists in the first half of 2023, to project a boom in the industry.
"We are on track for our national tourism target to reach 15 million tourists this year. We're expecting 18 million tourists next year. Our strategy focuses on increasing the number of flights that come to Egypt, to enhance the touristic experience for our visitors and increase the number of hotel rooms," Egyptian Minister for Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Eissa said.
"This year I believe we've shifted from the phase of recovery to growth. Winter is our peak tourism season. What is astonishing this year is that business is strong during summer all over Egypt. Europe this year witnessed extreme heat waves and wildfires while in Egypt the weather has been great and that made it attractive," said Atef Abdel Latif, chairman of Musaferoun for Travel and Tourism.
Tourism is vital for the Egyptian economy. It makes up about 12 percent of the nation's GDP and is among the top sources of foreign currency for the Arab world's most populous nation.
Egypt envisions attracting some 30 million tourists by 2028. The ambitious strategy intends to attract 20 billion dollars of investments. Authorities are planning to increase the hotel capacity in the country from the current 215,000 rooms to 500,000.