Destinations Africa

Tourism Numbers to Egypt Fall Again as Political Turmoil Continues

May 14, 2014 9:30 am

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Egypt didn’t have many more tourists to lose, but it still managed to lose more.

— Jason Clampet

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Reuters

Residents and tourists watch as smoke raises near a state security building after a blast in South Sinai October 7, 2013. Medical sources said three were killed and 48 injured in the blast near the state security building in South Sinai. A witness said it was caused by a car bomb. Reuters


Only 755,000 tourists visited Egypt in March, a drop of 32.4 percent from the same month in 2013, when more than a million did.

The country’s tourism sector, which accounts for a large chunk of the country’s economy, has been tumbling since the popular uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011. It suffered another blow in February when a coach carrying Korean tourists was bombed by Islamist extremists.

A string of bomb blasts followed targeting Egypt’s security forces and the military, three near the university in Giza and others in a Cairo suburb.

Egypt’s revenue from tourism fell 41 percent last year to £3.5 billion. Hundreds were killed in the violence that followed the army’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.

The tourism ministry this month launched a three-year marketing campaign in the hope of attracting tourists and investors to the country.

In February, Hisham Zaazou, the country’s tourism minister, said the government’s hopes to win back tourists were focused on Luxor, the southern city that, as well as Valley of the Kings, is also home to the impressive temple of Karnak.

Earlier this month the country unveiled a replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb and opened an accompanying visitors’ centre in Luxor in another attempt to win back visitors.

Howard Carter, the British archaeologist, first discovered Tutankhamun’s burial chamber in The Valley of the Kings in 1922. The new version is a faithful copy and claims to be the most accurate, large-scale facsimilie ever made, with conservationists measuring 100 million points in every square metre.

The new visitor centre has been designed to be better equipped to accommodate visitors to the tomb who, during peak times, once numbered up to 1,000 a day.

The price of visas-on-arrival in Egypt increased from May 1. It is now €25 for a 30-day visa purchased at the airport.

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