NewsEgypt's tourism boom overshadowed by deepening economic crisis

Egypt's tourism boom overshadowed by deepening economic crisis

This year will be a record year for the tourism sector in Egypt in every respect.
This year will be a record year for the tourism sector in Egypt in every respect.
Images source: ©

11:02 AM EDT, May 23, 2024

This year will be a record-breaking year for Egypt's tourism sector. Tourists are increasingly interested in this country, which translates into significant financial inflows and new investments in the tourism industry. However, the country is grappling with a deepening economic crisis.

In the first four months of this year, 4.6 million tourists visited Egypt for a holiday. This is the second-highest number of visitors to the country since 2010 when 4.7 million people came to Egypt for vacation, reports the portal.

Even more impressive are the tourism revenues. In the first four months of 2024, tourists spent 4.3 billion dollars in Egypt. For comparison, from January to April last year, it was 4.1 billion dollars, and in 2010, "only" 3.7 billion dollars.

During the African Tourism Forum held in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ahmed Issa, confirmed that the goal of Egypt this year is to handle 18 million foreign guests.

"If the trend from the first quarter continues, the planned number of visitors is realistic," said Mohamed Amer from the Committee for Licensing Hotel and Tourist Facilities in Egypt.

Egyptians' crazy plan: 30 million tourists

Last year, 14.9 million tourists visited Egypt and spent over 13.5 billion dollars on vacation. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has ambitious plans for the future. According to their assumptions, 30 million tourists will visit Egypt in 2028. Currently, the country has 223,716 hotel rooms in 6,667 hotels and tourist facilities.

In mid-May, this number increased by 1,000 due to the opening of two modern tourist resorts in Marsa Alam, belonging to one of the richest Egyptians, Kamel Abou-Ali - "Pic Albatros Portofino Vita" and "Pic Albatros Portofino Villaggio".

The country's Prime Minister, Mustafa Madbuli, announced that by the end of this year, Egypt will open 25,000 new hotel rooms.

Gigantic debt and economic crisis

Egypt, inhabited by 106 million people, is sinking into an increasingly deeper economic crisis. The authorities are struggling with the collapse of the currency value, rampant inflation, and soaring interest rates. The situation has been worsened by the Hamas-Israel war, but the real sources of the problems lie in years of mismanagement of state finances. Hence, the aid announced by the EU seems to respond to real issues.

Egypt's public debt has already reached 200 billion dollars, and investors are increasingly concerned about the country's solvency. It may not even cope with the repayment of current loan obligations. Meanwhile, the volatile situation in the Middle East affects one of the most important branches of the economy—tourism.

The situation in the Suez Canal impacts Egypt. Its capacity is drastically decreasing due to increasingly brutal attacks by Houthi rebels on the Red Sea. Meanwhile, Cairo is the formal owner of the crossing. Revenues from this source also fall as many ships prefer not to risk an attack and sail around Africa.

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