Tourism drops 27% in February
Egyptians wait for customers at the historic Khan al-Khalil market in downtown Cairo on July 2013 - AFP

CAIRO: The number of tourists visiting Egypt dropped a significant 27 percent in February, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced Thursday.

About 617,000 tourists visited Egypt in February 2014, compared to 642,197 tourists the previous month and 845,000 tourists in February of the previous year, according to CAPMAS’ monthly tourism report.

The tourism sector has been in constant decline since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, despite ongoing campaigns to assure foreigners that the country is a safe vacation destination.

In 2010 more than 14.7 million holidaymakers visited Egypt compared to 9.5 million tourists in 2013, reflecting a 35.8 percent decline, CAPMAS added in its annual bulletin on tourism statistics, released Sunday.

Egypt depends on tourism 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.

CAPMAS showed that the majority of tourists came from Eastern Europe, followed by Western Europe and the Middle East.

Tourists spent 6.2 million nights in Egypt during February, compared to 11.5 million nights in the corresponding period last year, marking 46.1 percent decline, according to the report.

The majority of nights, about 39.8 percent, were taken up by Eastern European tourists, followed by Western Europeans at 35 percent and Middle Easterners at 15.2 percent.

According to CAPMAS, 86,800 Arab tourists visited Egypt over this period, compared to 149,400 tourists in February last year, registering a 41.1 percent decline.

Arab tourists spent 1.2 million nights over this period, compared to 2.7 million nights in the corresponding month last year, marking a 54.3 percent decrease. Each tourist spent an average of 10.9 nights in February 2014, down from 14.8 nights last year.

The industry witnessed its peak in 2010, with $13.8 billion in revenue, 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.

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