Exclusive to The Middle East Online . . . Egyptian tourism on the road to recovery



23.6% increase in Egypt’s 2014 tourism revenues holds promise for positive sector forecast this year with US$ 5.3 billion-worth of tourism projects currently taking shape. Rhona Wells reports from the World Travel Market in  Dubai

Egypt’s resurgent tourism sector was boosted by a 23.6% increase in revenues last year and new projects worth $ 5.3 billion.

According to Egypt’s Tourism Minister, Hisham Zaazou, the country registered a 4.5% increase in inbound tourist numbers in 2014, with 10 million arrivals, compared to 9.55 million in 2013. Tourism revenues also rose year-on-year by 23.6%, an increase of $7.5 billion, up from $5.9 billion in 2013.

“Tourism is Egypt’s second most vital income generator and employs over 12% of the population, so these figures are particularly welcome after a difficult few years and the highs of 2010. The ATM team is working in tandem with the country’s proactive tourism sector to identify opportunities for healthy, sustained growth and we look forward to showcasing Egypt’s cultural diversity at this year’s show,” said Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager of Arabian Travel Market.

Tourism spend is also on the increase,  Minister Hisham Zaazou (below) confirmed that the average amount spent per tourist per night rose from $72 to $80.1  during the second quarter of 2014, which  is good news for tourism development. Some $5,268 million-worth of investment in the country’s current top 10 list of projects will benefit Egypt’s tourist industry or related sectors.

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This investment programme is led by the $1,653 million Emaar Misr Marassi Beach Resort project. Located on the country’s north coast, close to the historic city of El Alamein, the 6.5 million-square-metre development will feature a luxury resort, residential community, 18-hole golf course and six kilometre-long private beach.

Emaar Misr is also developing the $820 million Cairo Gate Mall while the UAE-based  Al Futtaim Group is responsible for construction of the $500 million Al Maza City Centre project and MAF’s $400 million Mall of Egypt.

Investment into Egypt’s cultural heritage is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Antiquities, which is moving forward with its $810 million phase three-development plans for the Grand Egyptian Museum. Outside of Cairo, Luxor will have a $120 million Four Seasons Hotel while Marsa Alam will be home to Tabarak Holding’s $150 million Fantasia Resort.

Looking at outbound travel and domestic tourism, and in terms of technology, Egypt unlike other destinations in the MENA region, does not play as big a role in the decision-making process with direct bookings via local offices or telephone being the preferred channel in Egypt. However the transition to online is already happening with 41% of Egypt’s leisure travellers booking more than half their trips online over the last 12 months, as per YouGov findings. Demand for luxury travel options is growing, with 44% of YouGov survey respondents reporting staying at a four-star or above hotel during their last leisure trip.

Egypt also has a well-established all-inclusive leisure tourism product and this is proving to have high appeal to Egyptian travellers with 76% likely to consider booking a luxury all inclusive package.

Allied with its unrivaled heritage of ancient tombs and pyramids, the new developments should help ensure Egypt’s tourism,s recovery.



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