Egypt eyes slow return for tourism after revenues dive in 2020

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Egypt’s tourism sector is eying a gradual restoration after revenues plunged by almost 70% to $four billion in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism minister and journey firms mentioned.

The variety of vacationers visiting Egypt sank to three.5 million final 12 months from 13.1 million in 2019, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany advised Reuters. Foreign occupancy charges in Egyptian lodges dropped to only 10-15% of 2019 ranges.

Tourism accounts for as much as 15% of Egypt’s nationwide output, and is a key supply of overseas forex.

Officials have been unveiling new archaeological discoveries in an effort to revive customer numbers, and hope the delayed opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum subsequent to the pyramids, anticipated later this 12 months, will assist the sector recuperate.

“The goal right now is not to count the number of tourists but to have it be said that Egypt is a safe tourist destination during the coronavirus pandemic,” mentioned Enany.

Of 1,200 lodges, 700 have licenses to function beneath present well being restrictions, mentioned Enany.

Egypt plans to begin Covid-19 vaccinations this month after approving China’s Sinopharm vaccine, however it was unclear how shortly the programme could possibly be rolled out.

“In 2021, with the vaccine, the recovery will be incremental,” mentioned Mohamed Farouq, chief government of journey company Egypt Express. “It will be slow … until this virus is totally controlled.”

On Sunday, Egypt’s central financial institution prolonged waivers on debt curiosity funds for vacationer firms and different companies till the top of June.

After a second wave of infections in Egypt in December, even bookings that had been postponed have been cancelled, mentioned Elhamy Mostafa of Emeco Travel.

“We know that the problem isn’t only Egypt, the tourist cannot travel. Or if he comes back home, he will have to quarantine,” mentioned Mostafa. “This problem will persist.”

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content)

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