CAIRO: The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped significantly by 17.9 percent in 2013, to total 9.5 million tourists, compared to 11.5 million tourists in 2012, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced Sunday.
The tourism sector has been in a constant decline since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, despite ongoing campaigns to convince foreigners the country is safe.
In 2010, more than 14.730 million holidaymakers visited Egypt, compared to 9.5 million tourists last year, reflecting a 35.8 percent decline, CAPMAS added in its annual bulletin on tourism statistics.
Egypt depends on its tourism sector for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at 68 billion EGP (U.S $9.8 billion,) according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
The industry witnessed its peak in 2010, with $13.8 billion revenues, but unrest following the 2011 revolution has kept many tourists away. Revenues in 2012 netted $10 billion, followed by $5.9 billion in 2013, a 41 percent decline in one year. The interim government said it aims to attract 12 million tourists in 2014, targeting $9 billion revenues by the end of the year, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
Egypt witnessed a 27 percent decline in foreign tourists in February, the Ministry of Tourism announced early this month, citing the Feb. 16 bombing of a bus that killed three Korean tourists and the Egyptian driver in city of Taba, next to the Israeli border.
CAPMAS showed that the majority of tourists came from Western Europe, followed by Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Tourism has been the sector hardest hit by the political turmoil in Egypt.
The report pointed to a 31.5 percent decline in the number of nights tourists spent in the country. 137.8 million nights were spent in 2012 compared to 94.4 million nights last year. The majority of nights, about 37.4 percent, were taken up by Western European tourists, followed by Eastern Europeans at 32.7 percent and Middle Easterners at 21 percent.
According to CAPMAS, 1.8 million Arab tourists visited Egypt over this period, compared to 2.3 million in 2012, registering a 22.4 percent decline.
Arab tourists spent 22.8 million nights in Egypt last year, compared to 36.2 million nights in 2012, marking a 37.1 percent decrease. Each tourist spent an average of 10.3 nights last year, against 10.6 nights in 2010.