People, Travel

Egypt Eyes New Markets to Revive Tourism Industry

Egypt’s final target is to get to the 2010 numbers in the next 18 to 24 months.Egypt’s final target is to get to the 2010 numbers in the next 18 to 24 months.

Egypt plans to promote religious, medical and luxury trips, and develop new markets in India and Eastern Europe, as it pushes to revive its vital tourism industry to pre-2011 levels within two years.

In addition to more diverse tourism offerings, the home of the pyramids will ease travel for residents of the Persian Gulf Arab nations through an e-visa program as part of a broader plan to boost visitors and encourage longer stays and more spending, Tourism Minister Mohamed Rashed said in an interview in Dubai, Bloomberg reported.

The effort marks the latest attempt by Egyptian authorities to kickstart a sector that had been a primary source of foreign currency, and the broader economy, which has struggled since the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

“The final target is to get to the 2010 numbers,” Rashed said, referring to the more than 14 million visitors the country hosted in 2010, its peak year for tourism arrivals. “We should be able to get as close as possible to the target in the next 18 to 24 months.”

Egypt has already seen a slight reversal of the downward trend it has endured for years, from tourism levels still as low as 5.4 million in 2016, according to government figures.

But to cement the gains and stage a sustained recovery, officials plan on further promotional programs far removed from the traditional surf and sun offerings found along the Red Sea resorts, or the antiquities for which Egypt is famed.

Those options include “Holy Family” tours to eight destinations, Rashed said.

To get a slice of the medical tourism industry, the country would be capitalizing on the lower cost of some cosmetic procedures in Egypt, relative to the expense in Europe and the US.

“The North African country is already seeing a “very optimistic” first quarter and is “well-positioned” to see the return of tourists by diversifying source markets and developing Cairo, Luxor and Aswan as luxury destinations,” he said.

“Germany is the top growing market, followed by the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. There’s also been growth in tourists from China, Japan, the US and Ukraine.”


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