Egypt’s tourism ex­pected to re­cover, backed by growth in tourist ar­rivals: OBG

IM­PROVE­MENTS IN SE­CU­RITY, CUR­RENCY FLOTA­TION WERE MAIN DRIV­ERS BE­HIND RE­BOUND

The Daily News Egypt - - Business - By Mo­hamed Samir

The Egyp­tian tourism sec­tor is poised to ex­pe­ri­ence a re­bound, de­spite chal­lenges, lead­ing to a more pos­i­tive out­look in the near to medium terms, ac­cord­ing to Ox­ford Busi­ness Group (OBG)’s Egypt eco­nomic up­date is­sued on Mon­day.

OBG as­so­ci­ated the re­cov­ery to the re­cent uptick in for­eign ar­rivals, as well as the ex­pected boost from the re­sump­tion of di­rect flights to and from Rus­sia, one of Egypt’s ma­jor sources of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors.

Egypt Air and the Rus­sian Aeroflot an­nounced, in March, that flights be­tween Moscow and Cairo would recom­mence on 12 and 11 April re­spec­tively. The re­sump­tion will end the two and a half years of flight sus­pen­sions be­tween the two coun­tries fol­low­ing the down­ing of a Rus­sian Metro­jet plane over the Si­nai Penin­sula in Oc­to­ber 2015.

Egypt wit­nessed a sig­nif­i­cant drop in tourist ar­rivals fol­low­ing the down­ing of the Rus­sian plane, al­ready in de­cline af­ter the 2011 revo­lu­tion. Con­se­quently, the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals dropped from 14.7 mil­lion peo­ple in 2010 to 5.4 mil­lion by 2016,with an­nual rev­enue fall­ing from $12.5bn to $3.8bn.

One of the main driv­ers be­hind the de­cline in tourist ar­rivals, was the drop in Rus­sian tourists, whose share of for­eign ar­rivals fell from 68% in 2015 to 13% by mid-2016.

Ac­cord­ing to the OBG re­port, the pos­i­tive out­look for Egypt’s tourism sec­tor is backed by the in­crease in vis­i­tors by 54% in 2017 to 8.3 mil­lion, while tourism re­ceipts more than dou­bled to $7.6bn. Group travel jumped 66.5%, in­di­cat­ing resur­gent in­ter­est from pack­age tour op­er­a­tors, and the Jan­uary-Fe­bru­ary pe­riod saw a 39% year-over-year in­crease in the num­ber of tourists from the UK—another tra­di­tional source of ar­rivals.

OBG be­lieves that the Egyp­tian au­thor­i­ties’ ef­forts to im­prove the do­mes­tic se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion was one of the driv­ers be­hind the stronger ar­rival num­bers, in ad­di­tion to the cur­rency flota­tion, as the value of the Egyp­tian pound has halved, mak­ing Egypt a more af­ford­able travel des­ti­na­tion.

Fur­ther­more, the pos­i­tive trend is ex­pected to con­tinue into 2018, ac­cord­ing to Hamed El-Chi a ty, chair­per­son of lo­cal travel com­pany Tr av co, who fore­casts 2018 ar­rivals will in­crease by a fur­ther 40-50% to reach roughly 12 mil­lion. He pegged this to the rise in vis­i­tors from tra­di­tional part­ners such as the UK and Ukraine, along with new mar­kets in Eastern Europe.

Ad­di­tion­ally, OBG’s re­port in­di­cates that the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of Egypt’s source mar­kets aims to reestab­lish the sec­tor as one of the main driv­ers of the econ­omy and end its re­liance on one na­tion.

To this end, a three-month tourism pro­mo­tional strat­egy has been pre­pared to air on the Na­tional Geo­graphic chan­nel in April. The cam­paign will fo­cus on the UK, Ger­many, Poland, the Czech Repub­lic, Bel­gium, and coun­tries through­out the Mid­dle East, and will con­sist of videos fea­tur­ing in­for­ma­tion about Egypt’s tourism in­dus­try and hol­i­day at­trac­tions.

More­over, the Tourism De­vel­op­ment Author­ity( T DA) is un­der­tak­ing a cam­paign, run­ning from Fe­bru­ary to April, to pro­mote the coun­try in the Span­ish mar­ket. It in­cludes the pro­mo­tion of spe­cific at­trac­tions, such as host­ing Chris­tian pil­grims at the Egyp­tian Ortho­dox Church.

The Min­istry of Tourism will is­sue a tender for Au­gust’s tourism pro­mo­tion, when its ex­ist­ing con­tract with US-based con­sul­tancy J Wal­ter Thomp­son ex­piries. The move aims to re­flect de­vel­op­ments in the global tourism mar­ket and Egypt’s over­all eco­nomic strat­egy, ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter of Tourism Ra­nia Al-Mashat.

Egypt wit­nessed a sig­nif­i­cant drop in tourist ar­rivals fol­low­ing the down­ing of the Rus­sian plane, al­ready in de­cline af­ter the 2011 revo­lu­tion

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