Egypt is one of the most alluring tourist destinations in the world due to its illustrious past, distinctive culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. However, boosting tourism in Egypt is not a simple task, especially given the global impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on the tourism industry.
Fitch Solutions, a leading provider of insights, data, and analytics, predicted that Egypt’s tourism industry would maintain its recent upswing. According to a Fitch report, the number of annual tourist arrivals increased by 117.5 percent in 2021, from 3.7 million in 2020 to 8 million in 2021. By exploiting the pent-up demand for travel following the Covid closures and the end of the peak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis’ effects, the flow of tourist delegations continued to higher levels in 2023 than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.
With 13.1 million visitors expected in 2023, compared to 11.7 million in 2022, Fitch projected an annual increase in the number of tourists visiting Egypt by 11.6 percent. This will be reflected in tourism revenues, which are projected to increase from $13 billion to approximately $14.4 billion over the same period.
Fitch’s future outlook also indicates that tourist arrivals to Egypt will continue to rise over the next five years, from 2023 to 2027, to reach 15.2 million, with an average annual growth rate of 5.4 percent during the forecast period. In line with the growth in arrivals, international tourism revenues will rise from $14.4 billion in 2023 to $17.4 billion in 2027, supported by higher consumer spending. The local currency’s low exchange rate helped to make hotels, restaurants, historical sites, and transportation more affordable for visitors from abroad, increasing the country’s appeal as a popular travel destination.
This article presents the most significant international experiences that can be used in Egypt to promote tourism while also providing an analysis of the incoming tourism movement to Egypt over the coming years.
I. Egypt’s Tourism Revenue
Tourism is one of the most significant sources of hard currency in Egypt, which also significantly boosts the country’s GDP, creates job opportunities, and provides the government with a significant portion of its annual foreign exchange earnings. According to official reports, Egypt’s tourism revenues surpassed $14.4 billion in 2022, reaching their highest level since 2010. Figure 1 depicts the growth of tourism revenues between 2010 and 2022.
Figure 1: Growth in Egypt’s tourism revenue, 2010–2022
Source: Central Bank of Egypt
The majority of visitors to Egypt come from Europe, specifically Russia, followed by Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. Egypt’s tourist attractions are spread across a number of areas, including Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Giza, the Red Sea, Sinai, Fayoum, the New Valley, and Beheira.
According to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s statements, Egypt plans to increase annual tourism sector revenues from the current average of $14.4 billion to $30 billion over the next three years.
To that end, the Egyptian government is working to put a plan into action to revive tourism in the country and supports policies and programs to upgrade the country’s tourism-related infrastructure and promote it more effectively abroad. With the gradual easing of travel restrictions around the world, it is anticipated that Egypt’s tourism sector will resume growth.
II- Outstanding International Experiences to Boost Tourism Revenues
1. Digital Marketing: To attract more international tourists, countries tend to place emphasis on digital promotion, where international tourists can obtain the necessary information about the country and its tourist attractions, as well as book and plan their travels online. These websites must be user-friendly and contain accurate, trustworthy content.
2. Investing in the Training and Development of Tourism Staff: Employees in the tourism industry need to be trained on how to interact positively with foreign visitors and deliver excellent service. This can be accomplished by offering employees training programs in a variety of tourism-related skills, including foreign languages, effective communication, and hospitality.
3. Building up the Tourism Infrastructure: Investments should be allocated to modernize hotels, restaurants, transportation options, and tourist attractions in order to improve Egypt’s tourism infrastructure. To ensure that visitors have a pleasant stay, essentials like water, electricity, communications, and transportation must be made available.
4. Promoting Sustainable Tourism: Sustainable tourism in Egypt requires the preservation of the country’s natural and cultural attractions. This can be accomplished by putting into practice sustainable tourism practices, such as cutting back on the use of harmful materials for the environment, conserving wildlife, practicing sustainable agriculture, and improving waste management.
5. Creating Unique Tourist Itineraries: Egypt needs to develop its tourism industry by providing tourists with memorable experiences that set the country apart, such as riding on vintage trains, taking balloon rides, scuba diving in the Red Sea, and other activities. This can be accomplished by collaborating with local and international tourism partners to develop trip options for tourists.
6. Providing Investors with Financial Facilities: To encourage investors to invest in Egypt’s tourism industry, the necessary financial facilities, including guarantees, loans, and tax breaks, must be made available. In addition, financial incentives, such as discounts at hotels, restaurants, and attractions, can be offered to international tourists to encourage them to visit Egypt.
In conclusion, utilizing these global experiences will boost Egypt’s tourism industry and bring in more foreign visitors, strengthening the country’s economy. It is critical to emphasize that collaboration between the public sector, the private sector, and the local, national, and international communities is necessary to achieve these goals. If these measures are implemented effectively, Egypt will be among the countries with the quickest tourism industry recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.