One billion dollars in monthly losses… How did Egyptian tourism collapse in 2020?

The tourism sector suffered a major collapse and huge losses during the year 2020 due to the Corona pandemic, closures, and travel and air travel bans for several months. According to experts’ estimates, the decline in tourist traffic during 2020 has reached 77%, and losses in the tourism sector exceeded $ 12 billion throughout the year. The huge losses and the collapse of inbound tourism to Egypt caused many workers in the tourism sector to lose their jobs, amid requests from hotel and tourist village owners for the need for government support for them.

Many observers criticized the system for ignoring theworkers’ffering in the tourism sector and not searching for solutions to the crisis or starting measures to alleviate the crisis’s severity. Tourism workers had called for several measures to enhance domestic travel by offering holiday discounts for travelers of all ages. Others called for preserving the tourism sector workforce through the financial incentives provided to companies that keep workers and provide training for those who were forced to stop working. Among the demands is the postponement of taxes, fees, deductions, and rescheduling of loans that affect tourism workers and transportation sectors.

Experts suggested taking advantage of the current situation due to the lack of tourism in developing tourist areas, improving the management of tourist places and facilities, and raising the cadres’ qualifications working in the tourism sector. The claims remained unresponded, and the measures were not implemented by the system, to the end of 2020, with huge losses that plunged the tourism sector, amid expectations that losses will worsen as the Corona pandemic remains.

The lowest level in two years

For its part, the World Tourism Organization revealed that the tourist arrivals to Egypt declined during the first eight months of this year by 69%, compared to the same period last year. The organization’s data showed that inbound tourism to Egypt in March recorded a decline of 64%. It said that tourists’ movement during April, May, and June completely stopped, a period that coincided with the closure of Egypt’s airspace to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus. With the return of aviation to Egypt, tourist arrivals to Egypt decreased in July by 93% and in August by 82%.

The organization’s data showed a decline in Egypt’s revenues from tourism by 55% during the first half of this year, and the rate of decline was 11% in the first quarter of the year and 90% in the second quarter. In the first quarter of the year, tourism revenues were recorded at 2.3 billion dollars, compared to 2.6 billion dollars last year.

During the second quarter, tourism revenues amounted to 305 thousand dollars compared to 3.17 billion dollars during the same period last year. Central Bank data showed that Egypt’s revenues from tourism achieved the lowest level during the last two years, in the first quarter of 2020. It is noteworthy that during the year 2019, tourism achieved the highest revenues in its history after exceeding $ 13.3 billion, according to data from the Central Bank of Egypt.

Huge loss

In the same context, a report by the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies predicted that the Coronavirus pandemic would cause a loss of $ 18 billion from Egypt’s expected tourism revenues in the current fiscal year. Several tourism experts estimated the losses suffered by tourism companies, hotels, and tourist villages in the Red Sea at about $ 9 billion within 9 months since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis.

They explained that the sector lost about 400 thousand tourists a month, which were received by the Red Sea resorts, and they spend about 4 million tourist nights per month, at an average rate of 10 nights per tourist. They added that while various hotels, companies, and restaurants have closed their doors since the beginning of the spread of the virus, about 400,000 workers have lost their jobs, in addition to thousands who work in tourism services.

Bashar Abu Talib, head of the Red Sea Tourist Guides Syndicate, confirmed in press statements that thousands of tour guides lost their jobs during 2020. Atef Abdel-Latif, president of the Travelers Association for Tourism and Travel, said that in the event that a large sector of tourism workers leaves the system now, there will be significant negative effects on Egyptian tourism in the future.