Egypt tourism arrivals down 40% in first half of 2011

Arab state's tourism sector has been crippled by political turmoil that has swept the region
Egypt tourism arrivals down 40% in first half of 2011
Egypt was previously regarded as among the most popular tourist destinations in the Arab world
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Tue 13 Sep 2011 04:03 PM

Tourist arrivals to Egypt plunged 40 percent in the first half of 2011, a period marred by months of political unrest which saw former president Hosni Mubarak stepping down.

According to figures from the Ministry of Tourism, 4.1 million holiday-makers visited the North African state between January and June this year, as compared with 6.9 million in the same period last year.

The figures are more than what was originally forecast - the country’s tourism minister predicting 2011 revenue would be just 25 percent lower than the previous year.

Egypt’s tourism sector, which accounts for 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been crippled by the political turmoil that swept the region at the beginning of the year.

Home to ancient sites and luxurious beach resorts, Egypt was previously regarded as among the most popular tourist destinations in the Arab world.

Between February 1 and April 5 this year, an estimated $1.8bn was wiped from the economy, official figures said, after travelers erred on the side of caution and journeyed to safer regions instead.

In a bid to boost the ailing industry, earlier this year the government announced plans to offer financial incentives to tour operators in the UAE and Europe, hoping to tempt back visitors and maintain chartered flights to the Arab region.

The government said it would subsidise half-full inbound flights until October and offer cash benefits to travel agents in exchange for running marketing campaigns for Egypt.

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