Egypt Watch

Egyptian tourism sector loses $600 million monthly over 2021

The Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani estimated the country’s tourism sector losses during the first quarter of this year at about $600 million per month. These losses represent about 60 per cent of Egyptian tourism revenues, compared to figures for the same period in 2019. Al-Anani expressed, during an interview with a satellite channel, his hope that Egyptian tourism would recover to pre-pandemic levels during the second half of 2022, if vaccinations continue at the expected rates.

According to the Enterprise Economic Bulletin accounts, Egypt’s revenues from the tourism sector in the first quarter of this year amounted to about $1.8 billion, compared to about $4.19 billion during the corresponding period in 2019. However, revenues improved quarterly, compared to revenues of $987 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Doubts hover over the date of the return of flights between Russia and the Red Sea resorts amid anticipation of the epidemiological situation in the two countries and security requirements to ensure the safety of travellers.

Egypt plans to vaccinate all workers in the tourism sector in the Red Sea at the end of this month, as part of its efforts to convert the Red Sea resorts into tourist destinations free of COVID-19. For more than five years, Russia has suspended its flights to Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada airports since the bombing of a Russian passenger plane in Sinai in October 2015, after it took off from Sharm El-Sheikh Airport.

The sector’s crisis, which generates hard currency for the Egyptian treasury (USD reserve), has been exacerbated by travel restrictions, border closures, and the closure of parks and beaches due to the continuing corona pandemic. Last November, a report by the Egyptian Centre 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.

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.