Egypt Watch

Tourism companies suffer heavy losses with Umrah suspension

A member of the General Assembly of the Chamber of Tourism Companies, Ahmed Al-Bakri, described the continued suspension of Umrah in Egypt as a disastrous decision for tourism companies in Egypt. He said in press statements that the consequences of cancelling Umrah for the second year would be catastrophic for tourism companies.

Al-Bakri expressed his fear of the Egyptian tourism companies’ inability to fulfill their obligations towards the state and their inability to keep their existing workers.

Economist Ahmed Zikrallah expected that the continued suspension of Umrah visas to Egypt would lead to great losses on the Egyptian economy, whether directly or indirectly. Hundreds of tourism companies and offices were severely damaged, lost their profits, and no longer have any other resources. Consequently, they have laid off their employees or closed their branches and headquarters.

A joint press statement by tourism companies said that the tourism sector in Egypt is suffering a very strong blow due to the repercussions of the coronavirus and the global closures that have disrupted tourism in general. There are indirect losses related to airlines due to the suspension of Umrah and Hajj flights, as the company announced a few days ago that it needed between EGP 7 billion and EGP 9 billion to compensate for its losses.

Zikrallah blamed the Egyptian authorities for the continuation of the decision to suspend Umrah because there is no real achievement in Egypt related to the distribution of vaccines, he said. He explained that in light of the state’s failure to provide the vaccine to citizens, some reports say that Egypt needs years to immunise all the population from coronavirus, and the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage will continue to be suspended for Egyptians.

Last February, the Saudi Ministry of Interior issued a decision to temporarily prevent receiving people from coming to the country from 20 countries, including Egypt. Since that date, no amendment has been made to the list. The continued suspension of Umrah for Egypt was a setback for religious tourism companies for the second year in a row.

Egypt is one of the countries that sent the most pilgrims – about 500,000 annually – as it ranked first in the Arab world and fourth in the world in 2019 after Pakistan, Indonesia, and India.