Skift Take

Egypt's tourism industry has been able to withstand some of the impact of the Israel-Hamas war.

Egypt received a record-breaking number of tourists in 2023 despite the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a statement by the country’s tourism ministry on Thursday

The country brought in 14.9 million tourists, beating the previous record of 14.7 million tourists in 2010, said Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa. 

After the war broke out in October, multiple tour operators told Skift they saw a spike in trip cancellations from Western travelers.

“We saw this whole fear of quick escalation between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries,” said Yves Marceau, vice president of product for G Adventures, in December. “Right off the bat, Egypt, Jordan tanked. Anything in the Middle East tanked.”

Even though the war started in October, tourism to Egypt continued to grow, with 3.6 million tourists in the last three months. That was up 8% from 2022 though 600,000 short of Egypt’s goal.

Issa attributed Egypt’s record year to his ministry’s efforts like expanding hotel room capacity and going after new markets and encouraging Arab tourism.

By December, the war hadn’t spread as some feared, and tour operators said they saw fewer cancellations. Bookings for 2024 are beginning to pick up, said Marceau, but are still low.

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Tags: africa, egypt, middle east, middle east newsletter, tourism

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