CAIRO: The number of tourists visiting Egypt during the first half of 2014 decreased by 25.4 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt’s official statistical agency.
In a report issued Saturday on the occasion of World Tourism Day, CAPMAS indicated that 4.4 million tourists had visited Egypt during the first half of 2014 compared to 5.9 million tourists during the same period last year.
CAPMAS reported the highest number of tourists who visited Egypt during the first half of 2014 came from Eastern Europe at 45.1 percent, followed by Western Europe at 31.9 percent and the Middle East at 16 percent of the total.
Russia topped the list of countries sending tourists to Egypt during the first half of 2014, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Ukraine, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Poland and Libya.
Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Despite a few instances of apparent recovery, continuous instability, political turmoil and a lack of security have remained challenges to the sector.
According to the report, tourists in total spent 43.6 million nights in Egypt during the first half of 2014, compared to 65.1 million nights during the same period in 2013—a decrease of 33 percent.
The number of tourists who visited Egypt in 2013 totaled 9.5 million compared to 11.5 million in 2012, a decrease of 17.4 percent, the report said.
The number of Arab tourists who visited Egypt in 2013 totaled 1.8 million tourists compared to 2.3 million in 2012, a decrease of 21.7 percent.
Egypt depends on tourism for around 20 percent of its hard currency. The sector’s total investments are valued at $9.8 billion, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The number of nights spent by transit tourists bound for another country in 2013 totaled 94.4 million nights compared to 137.8 million nights in 2012, a decrease of 31.5 percent.
The average number of nights spent by a tourist visiting Egypt in 2013 was 10.3 nights compared to 12.6 nights in 2012.
Finally, the total number of nights spent by Arab tourists in Egypt in 2013 reached 22.8 million compared to 36.2 million in 2012, a decrease of 37 percent.